Top 5 reasons why Argentina might win the World Cup
Argentina's story in this World Cup has been that of a transformation. From getting handed an unexpected defeat in the opening match against Saudi Arabia to being unbeaten and waltzing through opponents one after another, it feels like we are in for a grand finish! With Argentina running towards their elusive World Cup dream, let us look at the 5 ways Argentina has re-invented them in this world cup.
The worst start acting as the best wakeup call
The Argentine side seemed poised to make a grand entry to this year's World Cup against Saudi Arabia, with the team already up by one goal after half-time, but a second-half spirited display by the Saudis made the unthinkable happen! Argentina got handed the most bitter wakeup call and frankly it set in motion the process of their revamp in this year's competition, having already suffered the worst start, they made sure not to make those mistakes again and with the team playing in the semis, that proved to be the best wakeup call anyone could have asked for!
Captain Messi leading from the front
When was the last time you saw Messi, a player who is universally loved for his gentle persona on and off the field, so charged up and ready to go against anyone for his team? This World Cup we are seeing a different side of Messi, who is less willing to just stand helplessly, and more to lead his team, alone if needed, to get the job done.
From scoring the decisive penalties to getting into a fight with the entire Netherlands team, Messi is on a mission to say goodbye to the World Cup woes of the past, by leading his team to win with exemplary leadership.
Emiliano Martinez, the fiery goalkeeper
Of course, Messi alone cannot do everything for Argentina, he needs help, and he got it in the form of Emil Martinez, their trusted goalkeeper. From giving gritty performances in key matches against Mexico and Australia to the penalty shootout against the intense Dutch side, Martinez has provided the right kind of support to his captain.
When it seemed like Argentina has lost momentum after conceding two late goals, Martinez stepped up in the penalty shootout and saved the first two penalties of the Netherlands. There was not a single Argentine fan in the stands who did not get goosebumps!
Different players stepping up
Messi has all the pressure in the world to deliver for Argentina every time he takes the field, but as football is a team sport, Argentina needed other players to step up, and they did this time. The young Alvarez scoring goals against Australia, Molina's deft finishing against the Netherlands, De Paul acting as the self-described 'bodyguard' of Messi so that he can play his usual game, Lautaro Martinez keeping his calm to score the winning penalty in the shootout — this time the Argentine players are not leaving anything to fate it seems.
Manager with a calming effect
With tensions running high in intense matchups, it is no wonder players are on the edge most of the time. Leading the players this time is the Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni, who has acted as the calming figure of this team. Whenever it seemed like players were losing their tempers or letting the frustrations get the best of them, he stepped in and made sure the shape of the team stays compact and his players focused.