Join the conversation:

FIFA World Cup Russia 2018: Last Chance for the Golden Generation of Argentinian Soccer

FIFA World Cup Russia 2018: Last Chance for the Golden Generation of Argentinian Soccer

Posted by Miguel Ernesto on February 19, 2018

Lionel Messi knows he only needs to win a world title to stop comparisons and comments about who has been the best player of all times, in Argentine, Latin America, the world; but he is aware he will not be such a good player for ever. After losing versus Germany fighting to get the crown in Brazil, four years ago, he has left only one real option to add to his very successful list, the always wanted FIFA CUP. He will be able to have that choice in RUSSIA WORLD COMPETITION, where Argentine will be, once again, one of the favorite teams, although Messi is going to need the support of a very talented group of players that are constantly glowing in the most important clubs in the planet; whoever, they have failed, over and over again, with the national uniform when they were needed the most.

Argentine almost stays out of the classified teams to go to the Russian World Championship. They had a very unsteady performance in Conmebol. Nothing was working for a team full of stars, and there were no answers to the questions. How was it possible that the same outstanding players in Europe were suddenly unable to score? The Federation did not want to wait and fired Edgardo Bauza and put its faith on a new coach, Jorge Sampaoli, who was in a good position because of his recent winnings versus Chile. The truth is that even with a new coach, the results were not as good as expected and they got to the finals, being forced to defeat Ecuador. That day, Messi showed his level, and the 3 goals he scored, led them to the World Competition.

In Russia, Argentine was sharing group D with two European selections (Iceland and Croatia) and an African team (Nigeria). Among these three opponents, Croatians were the most complicated, some of them (Rakitic, Modric) are regular in some first level clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid; besides, the Irish team already failed in 2016 Euro Cup and now they want to prove that what they did in France was not by chance. On the other hand, Nigeria is not having the best of their performances but they will be, for sure, a very strong rival. 

Argentine has the quality of the players, but also, the history of the team. The selection has participated in 16 of the 20 World Cups that have been so far celebrated. In this edition they have played 77 times, with a very good average of 42 triumphs, 14 ties and 21 defeats. They have won 2 titles: 1978, as locals, they defeat Holland 3-1, with two goals by Mario Kempes. Then, in 1986, with the big Maradona, they defeated a very strong Germany 3-2, although, the most transcendental moment in that meeting was in the final quarters, when they left England on the field 2-1, thanks to the great performance Diego Armando Maradona had, who scored two times: first, the unforgettable “god´s hand” and then, the most spectacular goal of all times, after passing through seven rivals.       


The 23-players selection wearing the uniform will not be easy to Sampaoli. The coach has a lot to choose from, although by now, of course, he seems to clearly know who the central core of the team is.

As the goalkeeper, the coach will probably call Sergio Romero. This will be the third World Championship to “Chiquito” with Nahuel Guzman as substitute.

The defensive Argentine line is very strong. Javier Mascherano has finished his eight-year adventure with Barcelona and moved to China looking for some minutes he never got playing for Ernesto Valverde. Together with “jefecito” there will be Nicolas Otamendi, who was not called to Brazil, but he will travel to Russia. Some other defenders Sampoli might have in mind are: Ramiro Funes; and recovering from some injuries, Gabriel Mercado, Erman Pezella y Federico Fazio. 

In the winger zone there is a great talent, with men like Angel di Maria who is about to play his third World Competition; Lucas Biglia, Ever Banega, in his first World Championship, after participating in three America Cup and getting the Olympic title in Beijing 2008; Enzo Perez, Eduardo Salvio, Leandro Paredes and Marcos Acuña.

Everybody is going to be focused on the forward. Messi, of course, there has to be known who is going to play 9. Sampaoli has shown himself some preference for Sergio “Kun” Agüero, who is having a great moment within the Manchester City, although he will find some competition in Gonzalo Higuaín, Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi and Lautaro Acosta.

There is a huge expectation in Argentine. According to FIFA, the fans, this country has, are in the third place among the countries that have requested more tickets. This solicitation avalanche seems very justified. They know their selection is one of the favorite and this will be the last chance for Messi to reach the most prized trophy given to a national selection. Messi is used to getting better whenever Barcelona needs it the most. Now, in Russia, millions of followers of the Argentinian team have trust their “Messiah” to help them placing the third star on the beautiful Argentinian uniform.

Facebook comments

Monthly newsletter featuring articles hand picked by our country managers from the best content across PanamericanWorld.

Monthly newsletter featuring articles hand picked by our country managers from the best content across the Caribbean Region on PanamericanWorld.