3 January 2019
The Albicelste (the white and sky blue) were on the verge of missing out on the world cup for the first time since 1970. They had to depend on the scintillating magic from the eternal wizard Lionel Messi to they beat Ecuador.
The million dollar question on the lips of every football fan is why was s such a star-studded team in such close peril flirting with an absence from the next World Cup? A team that boasts of having arguably the best talent that the game has ever seen should not have to do mathematics and permutations to get to the world cup. A lot of people expected Argentina’s run to be a lot like that of their rivals Brazil who qualified about halfway through the journey, instead they even at a time sat sixth place on a table of ten teams with one match to go in the round robin system of qualifiers.
As expected a lot of football experts have tried to decipher the problem and proposed a panacea that would bring an end to the ordeal. Some complained that the so-called star man Lionel was being lazy when he puts on the white and blue that he didn’t put his heart into the games as much as he should and that was the reason why he wasn’t scoring as much as he should. Although we saw a sparkling Messi in the last match. But a thirty-year-old man who is currently the team’s highest goal scorer ever, with 58 goals is hardly ever justifiably crucified for not scoring enough even though he has just one goal in three appearances in 2017. Especially when the team has had players like Maradona, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and so on in their ranks. That claim was further countered by the fact that his Barcelona’s team possessed more quality in other positions than le seleccion.
Batistuta on Messi: "He scored 3 & was plugged in like we hadn't seen for a while. But it's a team & in a team it takes the service of all." pic.twitter.com/FBiXH56Ccx
— Peter Coates (@golazoargentino) October 18, 2017
Then another school of thought came up with the idea that the crop of talent they had needed a commensurate managerial genius to handle it, then came the dismissal of Edgardo Bauza and the appointment of the supposed genius Jorge Sampaoli.
Sampaoli is given credits for revamping the Chilean national team and contributing immensely to their Copa America success in 2015 where they defeated Argentina on Chilean soil, it was Chile’s first Copa America trophy. The 57 year old Argentina-born coach who is popular for his attacking and vehemently pressing tactics later took over at Sevilla where his team defeated Real Madrid to break their 40-match unbeaten run. Sevilla ended the season in fourth place making them qualify for the Champions League. Yet since his appointment on the 1st of June 2017, he has been unable to replicate his successful runs at both Chile and Seville winning two games and drawing three in his first five games in charge of the Albiceleste.
Argentina are headed to Russia! ?? pic.twitter.com/4m3AhBnLsJ
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 11, 2017
Although some point to the injury cases they had recently as to be blamed for the bad run but that argument also hardly holds any water as their team consisting of Lionel Messi, Ever Banega, Angel Di Maria, Javier Mascherano and Nicolas Otamendi was more than enough to take on the Peruvian team as evident in the match statistics. Messi hit the woodwork early in the match while Argentina controlled possession and fought hard from start to finish.
In conclusion, the reason for the bad run of form for Argentina in the world cup qualifying rounds is necessarily not the lack of hunger, team spirit or technical know-how. Perhaps it was simply hard luck.