After two World Cup and three finals, some hopes this yr’s staff will raise the distinguished trophy as soon as once more.
Earlier World Cup appearances: 17
Greatest end: Winners (1978, 1986)
Key participant: Lionel Messi
Fixtures: Saudi Arabia (November 22), Mexico (November 26), Poland (November 30)
Argentina’s almost 30 of ache and run of tearful losses in vital closing matches got here to an finish final yr after they received the Copa America and Lionel Scaloni’s staff will head to the World Cup by taking confidence from that triumph in Brazil.
Having final misplaced on the 2019 Copa America, the Argentinian nationwide staff, La Albiceleste, fly into Qatar on the again of a 35-match unbeaten streak and as one of many agency favorite to interrupt Europe’s 16-year stranglehold on the World Cup.
A lot of the credit score for profitable a big closing after six failed makes an attempt goes to Scaloni, the 44-year-old participant who rose from the position of assistant to doomed supervisor Jorge Sampaoli, to caretaker, and finally everlasting boss.
The Argentine Soccer Affiliation entrusted the rebuilding challenge to Scaloni who took over after their 2018 World Cup exit within the final 16 and with him on the helm Argentina adopted up the 2021 Copa win by comfortably beating Euro winners Italy in June’s ‘Finalissima’.
Argentina had been a high heavy aspect for years with a luxurious of choices to select from in assault however have been let down by a defence and midfield that leaked targets. Scaloni’s first order of enterprise was altering that.
Out went ageing gamers and in got here younger, hungry hopefuls as Scaloni applied his imaginative and prescient for a profitable staff that might later be nicknamed “La Scaloneta” – the home Scaloni constructed.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, centre-back Cristian Romero and midfielder Rodrigo De Paul fashioned the backbone of the new-look staff as Scaloni discovered gamers able to taking a number of the burden off Lionel Messi’s shoulders.
Their possession-based recreation, with gamers akin to Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes and De Paul dictating the tempo, freed Messi to be concerned additional up the pitch the place he’s most deadly.
Their talisman has been inspired by Scaloni’s adjustments and tactical acumen, rising extra decided to carry out nicely for Argentina and even enjoying by way of damage within the Copa America semis and closing.
“Scaloni is one in all us,” Messi mentioned. “It was he who chosen the nationwide staff, the one who believed, the one who took cost at a tough second. He gave us confidence, he was bringing in new individuals, he all the time knew what he wished and we grew. From the Copa America 2019, we took a leap.”
The 35-year-old was the very best participant on the 2014 World Cup when he got here agonisingly near replicating Diego Maradona’s success by main Argentina to World Cup glory, solely to be crushed within the closing by a superior Germany staff.
Messi is the only real surviving member from that beginning lineup on the Maracana Stadium. However this time he has the help of a squad constructed by Scaloni to win not simply matches, however titles.
Argentina is grouped with Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.