After the surprise debut with defeat, the Argentine National Team he straightened his walk and finished winning Group C and, like most football powerhouses that made it through the round, it did not win all three games.
A World Cup in Qatar that is no longer surprising to understand that yes, the teams matched up a lot, that there are no easy rivals, and even less in these defining instances. Thus, the rival in the Round of 16 was the very tough Australian team, which started and finished the game with very high pressure, although they had neither the ball nor clear scoring situations. Not even when he converted was it dangerous, since the shot went a long way away, but he hit Enzo Fernández in the face and went into Emiliano Martínez next to the post, making the end of the game uphill for the Albiceleste.
With patience, La Scaloneta settled in, and quickly began to handle the ball, with the idea intact, with the intelligence to open the court with touches, looking for spaces, rotating and approaching between the players in order to be a clear passing option, ensuring the ball. Because when it’s the ball that rolls, the one who does the physical wear and tear of running and running is the rival.
And when Argentina, who couldn’t find the comfort to finish deploying their football and be deep from three quarters of the pitch forward, the Australians played hard. First, Enzo Fernández hooked her up, and then, who else? Lionel Messi. It’s that when you don’t know how to get the ball out of your rival, you hit…
The first interesting play for La Scaloneta, a beautiful deep ball from Enzo Fernández, who very attentively cut off an Australian counterattack attempt, but Julián Alvarez failed to control the ball and went deep.
Argentina took a breather at 20 and left the ball to Australia a bit, who played and played, until they got their first corner, one of their weapons due to the height of their players. He also had a good header that they were able to conjure up between Nanuel Molina and Cuti Romero. The rival was enlarged, he handled the ball and generated advances that failed to be deep or clear attacks.
Around half an hour, Argentina took control of the game again, planted itself more firmly in the rival field and it seemed that it was going to be a game of stick and stick. But Argentina scored the goal, took the lead and calmed down, continued betting on possession, on the peace of mind that it gave them then, not only the game and possession, but also the result.
This is how the first half went, with La Scaloneta leaving a good image, giving hope for what is to come and with the result, meager perhaps, but logical for what had been the development of the game.
The first of the second half was for Argentina. It came with a long run from De Paul, they played from one side to the other until it ended with a bitten shot from Lio Messi, into the goalkeeper’s hands. The second: Julián Alvarez’s goal, high pressure from Julián and De Paul, the goalkeeper Ryan wanted to play out, they forced the error on him and after a turn, Julián Alvarez slowly threw it into the goal. It seemed like a finished match, but this game has no logic.
Thus, Australia’s carom goal spiced up the game, the Australians got bigger and Argentina stopped on the counterattack to control and put the game to sleep. The situations for the albiceleste followed one another, Messi had it, Lautaro MArtínez had it but the third and it arrived. With better physical condition and with the need to go to tie to force extra time, Australia pushed, without football, without ideas, but with enthusiasm. And it ended in a last play for the tie, but there was Dibu, and in case he failed, he was also closing a defender. Of course, we can tell this after watching the repetition on television over and over again, because at that moment it seemed that everything was falling apart. Martínez had the save of the World Cup in Qatar 2022 in the last minute of the seven that the referee added, first by attenuating the shot with his elbow, and then controlling with his whole body and that of millions of Argentines…
Rest had requested Scaloni… Yes, he was right once again. But the Argentine players never showed signs of fatigue. They had gone more than ninety minutes into the game and they kept running, biting and looking for one more goal, which was denied time and time again. Like when we won two to nil and they were looking for the third and also when Australia had discounted.
The Argentine National Team overcame a very tough rival, in a match that they played well, they were much more than the rival, but an impossible carambola to control gave the rival a chance to get within range with the score. And the Scaloneta responded again, with very high performances from Lionel Messi, Rodrígo De Paul, Enzo Fernández, Julián Alvarez, Alexis Mac Allister, Dibu Martínez… Argentines, we are among the eight best teams in the World Cup in Qatar 2022 and let’s go for more…
One by one of the Argentine players in the 2-1 win against Australia
Emiliano Martinez. Twice he had to intervene for back passes, the most dangerous thing Australia had were those plays where the Argentine goalkeeper had to decide. In the first of the second half, he bounced it off the striker. The second was short and he left the area to throw it to the side. He resolved the harsh pressure of the rival well. And it almost led to a blooper from Ryan, when he made a long rebound that ended up being a pass to Messi, but the Australian keeper came out of the box to head it into the wing. He had to cut two or three little centers, little work, although they forced him a little more than against Poland. Nothing to do in Australia’s goal, which put the result on hold, was a shot from distance that bounced off Enzo Fernández and slipped into the far post with 13 minutes left to finish regulation time. There was a century to go and in the last one, the World Cup save was sent. A high point in La Scaloneta, which demanded little of him, but he responded in a big way.
Nahuel Molina. Well on the mark, in the position, when Argentina received a rival attack. Criterious, solid, like the entire Argentine defense, which feared for the centers and the height of the Australians, but they were well controlled.
Christian RomeroSolid like all the defense, he did not wrinkle when he had to collide with the big guys and he did not back down when it came to taking it forward when he could burn…
Nicholas Otamendi. Solid, firm, when the Australians took their first corner into the heart of the area looking for their towers to head, it was he who won high. Neither did he ruffle his hair when he had to throw it around when the ball reached the penalty spot. In attack, he was the one who received him from Mac Allister and brought it down to Messi to score the first goal of the game. Well positioned almost always, he was important to keep the game in the rival field, where it was played almost always.
Marcos Acuna. Like Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernández, he hit a very strong stomp from Irvine, who earned a yellow card just 14 minutes into the first half. Good start from the bottom, nice projections, great cuts in defense. He was replaced at 25 in the second half by Tagliafico.
Rodrigo DePaul. He disguised himself as Mascherano in the first situation in which Australia set foot in the Argentinian area and led him to the striker so that the ball went down the back. It was a goal kick… he played whenever he could with Lío, with precision to cut and good passes, but Argentina needed him more participative in the first half. Do we ask for more participation? It was against the goalkeeper Ryan at the beginning of the second half together with Julián Álvarez and the second goal came… He put everything in, until the end of the game. Intelligent, brave, fine in the passes, spicy to go to force the error of the rival goalkeeper. Another of the high points of the Scaleneta against Australia.
Enzo Fernandez Good as a link between defense and midfield to play short, he tried a couple of long balls without precision. What a player, mommy. He dropped a chest ball when dribbled by the Aussies and came out with class. He hit him in the face in Australia’s goal, a shot that didn’t even go on target. But beyond that misfortune he had a great game, cutting and touching.
Alexis Mac Allister. An all-court player. He wins in the rival area, an excellent pass for Messi’s goal, but also going down almost to the Argentine area to help in the recovery, to engage with his teammates. Another player who was not a starter and earned a place among the 11 by force of football, will and precision.
Alejandro Gomez. First shot at Argentina’s goal, very far from the crossbar. Like Di María, he was alternating left and right. When he went deep on the right he achieved a nice free kick, “a kind of penalty corner” some journalists would say that he is confused about sports. From there, came the goal of the Scaloneta. He had to leave due to an ankle injury, after playing a great game.
Lionel Messi. She tried, searched, touched, ran, excited. The first free kick from him, he tied up the Australian defence, who are still trying to figure out who to score and how. They rejected short, Argentina with a lot of people in attack recovered quickly, they touched forward where Otamendi with his back to the goal, left it to Lío who hit him with a chamfer and got next to the right post of goalkeeper Ryan, in the first he had La Escaloneta in a full attack. The alien born in Rosario played and ran and scored and touched the entire game. There were countless plays in which he tried, provoked and tried to define. Don’t tell me we didn’t think about Diego’s goal against the English in the 1986 World Cup when at 19 in the second half he grabbed it and began to dribble members of the British Commonwealth, until he was pinched at the corner when he was shaping up to score the left-footed shot… A minute later, he hit it from high above, solving another play where La Scaloneta played from one band to the other. They were 93 and hit a jump rope that deserved a goal… And just as he insisted on scoring his goal against Poland, he did the same against Australia but for Lautaro Martínez to score. He always looked for it, like an older brother who knows that the kid needed his goal, for him, for the national team and for the millions of long-suffering Argentines who cheered them on.
Julian Alvarez In the first one that he had, he failed to dominate it and it went long, in the second intervention, an Argentine defensive rejection fell elegantly and a play was sent, but it arrived in the area demanded and they ended up taking it out. He ran all of them, fought all of them, played in association with his teammates when he could and was the manager of the second, together with De Paul of the recovery that ended with a smooth half-turn definition, with an empty goal when the ball was swiped from Ryan. Great goal. Exhausted, he left his place for Lautaro Martínez.
Lisandro Martinez He entered through Papu Gómez, a priori a defensive change, but he gave another dynamic to the Argentine defense and attack. He stepped onto the field, and the second came with great pressure from De Paul and Julián Alvarez,
Lautaro Martinez. In the first one he had, he sent a nice run, but the ball went long and they were able to neutralize it. He had it at 42 in the second half, but he bit him and went far from the far post. The third, the worst of all, there, all error. Messi left him alone, in a position similar to Argentina’s second goal against Poland, but instead of nailing it at an angle, he threw it into the stands. When the bow opens, friends, let the rivals hold on…
Nicolas Tagliafico. He had the third for Argentina when Lautaro left him facing the goal and defined the cross to the far post. He went one meter away. Like each of the players in this team, when it’s his turn to play, he complies, surrenders and scores.
Ezekiel Palace y Gonzalo Montiel They entered when the potatoes were burning, they more than fulfilled the selection.
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