Since that Selection of Marcelo Bielsa that arrived as a great candidate for the World Cup in Korea-Japan in 2002 and in just three games, he dismantled all illusions, No team has aroused as much optimism in the run-up to a World Cup as this one led by Lionel Messi and led by Lionel Scaloni. There is something to sustain the good vibes that Argentina runs through these hours, whether it is a soccer fan or not: the idea of the game appears clear, the group chemistry remains at a high level, the word of Scaloni and his coaching staff retains its value indoors Y In addition, there is the genius of Messi in all its versions: supercrack, idol and leader. Without a doubt, he is the most loved player, the great star of the World Cup, much more than Mbappé, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo.
But none of this ensures anything. Optimism serves to better overcome the anxiety of the previous hours. To have a great World Cup (to be in the top four) and much more to become champion, the National Team must put football, character and intelligence on the pitch. And also a stroke of luck at some key moment. For this reason, it is possible that from now on, when the game begins to be played for points, a team that is more similar to the one that won the Copa América against Brazil in Brazil in 2021, against Chile in Calama or against Uruguay in Montevideo for the Qualifiers, can be seen. than the one that beat Italy in the Wembley Final or walked almost unopposed in the low-flying friendlies against Estonia, Honduras, Jamaica and the United Arab Emirates.
I mean, a team that will not press as high for so long, that will have the ball as long as it takes to open the scoring and that once they get that advantage, they will drop back to wait for their opponents, they will defend with five in the background and they will try to finish the counterattack process. With a run from Messi or a well-placed pass from him to Angel Di María, Lautaro Martínez or a midfielder that gets loose.
“The World Cup is won by intelligent, cautious teams that know when to attack and when to defend. It is rarely won by a team that overwhelms, which is constantly in the opposite field. Rarely. We are clear about that and we have to adapt to that. Intelligence is part of football.” warned Scaloni at the press conference prior to the friendly in Abu Dhabi. That’s why, Perhaps the millions of Argentine fans who will be magnetized to television screens should get used to seeing a National Team in the World Cup that will not go so far in front. Much more pragmatic and much less showy.
Of their last twenty games, Argentina kept the fence undefeated in fifteen. It is very possible then that, without exaggeration, the National Team is essentially betting on solidity and is somewhat more cautious in Qatar than it has been up to here. The priority will be to finish the matches with a clean sheet. The rest will be borne by everyone’s winning conviction and the genius of Messi.