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Home / Sports / Argentina fidgets and the Messi problem is not the greatest Jonathan Wilson | Soccer

Argentina fidgets and the Messi problem is not the greatest Jonathan Wilson | Soccer



D he is only positive for Argentina, and it is doubtful that it could have been worse. A draw against Paraguay means they will likely reach the quarter-finals of the Copa América when they win against Qatar on Sunday. However, there is no guarantee that four points will be enough to achieve the best third place, that they will beat the Asian champion. This was an extremely coincidental point after another bleak performance.

Again, Argentina were painfully disconnected. Again it was almost impossible to recognize a plan. Again, there was little attack flair and panic at every counter. No wonder that Sergio Agüero and Nicolás Otamendi have turned gray from stress.

The fact that Argentina did not repeat its first defeat was largely due to two lucky moments. First, the very modern punishment they received, which Lionel Messi transformed after Lautaro Martínez hit an arm from Iván Piris before hitting the crossbar. This was such a meager act that not a single Argentine appealed a corner to check the replay. If HotSpot or Snicko have not yet been added to the VAR Toolkit, this can only be a matter of time.

Then Derlis González saw Franco Armani save his penalty. It's not the most important detail, but it was surprising that, despite Piris being warned for an arm, Otamendi came off without a yellow card because he had González chopped off in the penalty area. This was significant in the 83rd minute when Otamendi was cautioned for a wild lunge. Paraguay should have had 14 minutes (thanks to the VAR-induced downtime) with an extra man. The result may have been better, but this was probably a worse performance in Argentina than in the 2-0 loss to Colombia.

It would be absurd to blame the manager Lionel Scaloni, who was the youngest Patsy in the spotlight. If he does not sweat on the line of contact like his predecessor Jorge Sampoli and watches helplessly as his call for him collapses, it's probably because he has no reputation that could collapse.

What a mess it is that a country that last year managed the two Copa Libertadores finalists and one of the Champions League finalists, the manager of the Europa League and the Copa Sudamericana winner last season and produced five managers at the World Cup last summer to take part in this tournament with someone who had never taken command of a competition? Scaloni may be developing, but right now he's probably just the third-best Argentinean coach on this Copa America.





  Lionel Scaloni, Argentina's coaching coach.



Lionel Scaloni, Argentina coaching coach. Photo: Chris Brunskill / Fantasista / Getty Images

And then there's the ticklish subject of Messi, whose quest to end the 26-year drought in Argentina and win an international Senior Cup has become the defining narrative of his national side. He is brilliant, clear and has boosted Argentina, which has achieved it lately. The last time Argentina played Paraguay in the Copa América, four years ago, in the semifinals, he played a role in preparing all six of Argentina's goals and at one point had three defenders cleanly avoid each other after a corpse.

But he is also a complication. He followed the path set by Cristiano Ronaldo, doing less and less as his career became a player far removed from the willing pushers of a decade (2009/10 he won the ball 2.1 times by duels and interception) back per game in the league, last season it was 0.5). Maybe that's only reasonable when the age starts to pull on his 31-year-old legs; Perhaps the lack of other responsibilities increases his creative achievement. But as with Ronaldo, this focus has its costs.

It's not just that the psychological urge outlined by Paulo Dybala to give the star the ball becomes a tactical imperative that leads to predictability. It's just that his lack of defensive work hampers everyone else when they catch the sagging, which can lead to rigidity and neglect. As good a club as Barcelona, ​​for whom dominance over the ball is in hand, can offset this to a certain extent, even though Liverpool has shown that even Barça does not sit low against teams that call their bluff and can not surrender Several players try to stop Messi.

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But what can Argentina do? Whatever difficulties Messi raises, he is not the fundamental problem. The inability to solve the messi mystery outlines all the other issues facing the squad: the lack of leadership, the lack of financial resources, the feeling that other countries are benefiting from their coaching expertise, and the diminishing pool of high-profile players , 19659003] And that is perhaps the biggest concern for Argentina. For a quarter of a century, the question is why they have never won anything from so many talented players. This has now changed in a subtle way: how can you ever win anything from so few talented players?


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