Argentina’s World Cup victory was a triumph of persistence, as Lionel Scaloni’s players demonstrated to their people. Lionel Scaloni and his teammates have previously suffered defeat in events. Angel di Maria’s wounds after missing the 2014 Final were healed. Lionel Messi may finally frame the portrait he’s always wanted to be in. Eight years after being obliged to walk with his head lowered by the FIFA World Cup trophy in the Maracana, he was permitted to grip the silverware and feel it in his hands in Lusail.
In his pleasure, as well as the excitement of the 50,000 Albiceleste supporters in the stadium and the 45 million people who came out to dance in streets and squares around Argentina, there is a message even more powerful than a narrative of achievement and victory: a story of perseverance. Messi was never defeated. While the adoration of Diego Maradona was partially founded in his rebellious temperament, La Pulga will long be a symbol of the fight of his people.
Messi, who concluded one of the most amazing careers in football history by hoisting the World Cup on Sunday in Qatar, never gave up, despite multiple lost finals and a litany of defeats. He endured the heavy hits and never, ever gave in. That’s what it’s all about, getting back up and trying again, in all facets of life,” Messi remarked after Argentina’s semi-final triumph over Croatia, a few days before displaying tremendous character again as he accomplished a lifelong goal. “Everyone falls, but the essential thing is to get back up and fight for your ambitions. I had my reservations at one time, but I’m glad I came back to appreciate it all.”
Scaloni’s conversation with Argentina’s Messi
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A few months ago, Lionel Scaloni, now a World Cup-winning coach, was frightened. Argentina had recently won the Copa America and qualified for Qatar 2022 after a goalless draw with Brazil in San Juan. The qualification campaign had gone well, and the team’s unlucky 28-year championship drought had come to an end; its supporters were ecstatic and anticipatory as they allowed themselves to dream of a third-world triumph.
In this fever-pitch climate, Scaloni was anxious that any failure in the Middle East would be too much to stomach for the South American country. He resolved to confront Messi personally about the situation. “I spoke to him before he left for Paris because I knew what lay ahead of us would be tough, he said. “We were going through a period when emotions were running high, and any letdown had the potential to be pretty painful.
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But he said it didn’t matter, that we just had to keep going because everything would be great. And that if it wasn’t OK, it wouldn’t be a huge problem, but that we had to at least give it a try. His response convinced me that we were on the correct track. Scaloni is another Argentine character who has never given up: he overcame his failure as a player in Germany in 2006, and he subsequently climbed above the enormous criticism he faced at the outset of his now-historic four-year tenure.
Di Maria soothes the wounds of 2014
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Nor was giving up on the agenda for another protagonist of the epic final, Angel Di Maria. Eight years ago, he tore up a letter from Real Madrid urging that he not participate in the 2014 World Cup final at the Maracana to prevent aggravating an injury. “I remember when the letter from Real Madrid came,” he remembered. “I ripped it up because I didn’t want to look at it. We clearly lost the World Cup final; it was the worst day of my life. Given the cold shoulder at the outset of the Scaloni revolution, the skillful winger showed humility and patience and fought hard to recover his spot in the side. In Lusail, he found redemption after causing Jules Kounde and Ousmane Dembele havoc down the left, winning the penalty and scoring his country’s second goal.
Spirit, grit, and heart
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Scaloni’s Argentina squad displayed many attributes in Qatar 2022, but none were as remarkable as their unshakable spirit, tenacity, and heart, which allowed them to bounce back from losses and turn unfavorable circumstances on their head. Every player, notably the starting XI versus France, is an illustration of this phenomenon when their specific pathways are highlighted.
Emiliano Martinez, for example, joined the elite club of World Cup-winning goalkeepers after overcoming uncertainty and a series of loan moves while at Arsenal, Nahuel Molina managed to reinvent himself in Europe after struggling to break into the first team at Boca Juniors, Nicolas Otamendi became a leader despite that disastrous 4-0 quarter-final defeat by Germany in South Africa 2010, and Nicolas Tagliafico succeeded in regaining his spot in the team after sub-poaching.
This list could easily be expanded to include all 26 team players, from midfielders to forwards, starters to replacements, and even the backroom staff, which contains several former Albiceleste greats who have previously suffered World Cup heartbreak. But the aforementioned grit is also collective: Argentina recovered strongly from their initial surprise defeat by Saudi Arabia, survived a shoot-out against a formidable Netherlands team, and demonstrated the steadfast aspect of their character against a French team unwilling to relinquish their hard-earned crown.
Scaloni: We kept going
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The spirit of this squad is such that they never give up,” said Scaloni, the only one to speak at the post-victory news conference. Those two French goals, like the one against the Netherlands, were crushing. But we persisted because we knew we had to win.” These athletes represent the people, the Argentine supporters. There are no egos or rivalries here; everyone is focused on the same objective. We had cause to be upbeat. Our fans should enjoy themselves since they must recognize that things do not always go as planned.
Tomorrow, life will carry on as usual, and our troubles will remain, but everyone will be a little happy, at the very least. And Argentina is surely thrilled. Messi, this national team, and its coaches have had a much larger influence than an additional star on a jersey. They have shown to their followers that certain objectives are worth battling for, that they should never give up, and that, although it may take time, there is always a payoff at the end.
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