Increase Alexa Rank
News and Updates

Messi is on edge and Argentina is looking to save the World Cup


Doha: Things were not meant to be this way. Ahead of the World Cup, hopes were high in Argentina that Lionel Messi was ready for his glorious swansong.

The diminutive star with magic in his boots insisted he was in good shape physically ahead of what he suggested would be his World Cup final.

Having won La Liga 10 times, the Ballon d’Or seven times, the Champions League four times, and the Copa America once, this trophy is all that is missing from Messi’s huge collection of personal and collective trophies.

Argentina entered the tournament on a 36-match unbeaten streak after stunning arch-rivals Brazil in their own backyard to win the Copa America last year.

Critics and fans around the world were declaring Argentina one of – if not the – favourites.

The Argentines were letting themselves dream: one of the greatest players the world has ever seen was about to lift the biggest prize in football.

But Tuesday’s shock 2-1 defeat by the tactically superior and athletically superior Saudi Arabia sent them back to earth with a bruise.

The realization is that, far from coating an already delicious cake with icing, Messi’s World Cup saga may be about to end in ignominious fashion.

Autopsies have already begun in Argentina.

Football pundits and fans alike speculate whether or not Pep is really fit.

He had sat out two group training sessions, following his personal program one at a time, due to a blow to his calf.

A photo went viral on social media of his apparently deformed ankle – even though he was only wearing an ice pack.

Fingers have been pointed at his club, Paris Saint-Germain, apparently for daring to play him week in week instead of wrapping him in cotton wool so that he can get to the World Cup in the best shape possible to help his country.

Coach Lionel Scaloni was also heavily criticized for his perceived inability to get past the high defensive line of the Saudis as his team was offside seven times in the first half.

He was also criticized for his inability to break down a stubborn defense that fell deeper once they took the lead.

However, there was a sobering admission that Messi at the age of 35 may not be as great as he once was.

“He is not injured, but he suffers from several ailments that are logical due to his age and the number of minutes he has played this season,” the OlĂ© sports newspaper said.

Nevertheless, Messi remains the darling of the nation on whom their hopes lie.

Tales of his rousing speech to his teammates soon surfaced on the bus after the Saudi game.

In training the next day, he supposedly told them, “People think that this group will not abandon them.

“It’s up to us, we know we have no choice (but to win) but we’ve already played in these kinds of games before, it’s time to hold our heads above water.”

Messi will have to raise himself above the poor performance produced against Saudi Arabia if Argentina are to beat Mexico on Saturday and keep their hopes of progress alive.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *