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The battalion of secondary schools that supported Messi


Players with little footprint in the great elite, and even in the national team, grow around 10 under the direction of a Scaloni who did not hesitate to put the scalpel

Dibu Martínez, zero games in the Champions League;

Alexis Mac Allister, also zero;

Enzo Fernández, five;

Nahuel Molina and Julián Álvarez, six;

Cuti Romero, 12. Eternal glory went to Lionel Messi and also to a gang of players who, for the most part, barely made a mark at the highest levels of European football.

Either because of his youth, because his career had taken place in medium-sized clubs, or because being in top-level teams they had not yet been uncovered in a big way.

That was the file of Lionel Scaloni's starting eleven against France except for the cases of 10, the great career of Ángel Di María and the callus of Nicolás Otamendi.

The goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, 30, the number two hero of the Albiceleste for his saves and his maddening


in penalties for rivals, he stretches every weekend with the Aston Villa shirt, which does not exactly appear among the great chancelleries of the continent (twelfth in the Premier).

Mac Allister (23) is a regular at Brighton, seventh in the English League.

Fernández (21) has just arrived at Benfica, from the second Portuguese tournament although creditable leader of his group in the Champions League.

Otamendi (34) also plays in Lisbon in the final part of his career after leaving Manchester City.

Molina (24) and De Paul (28), important in his team, especially the second, have not broken at the same level with Atlético.

The charms of Álvarez (22) are important, but he is a newcomer to the elite and, in addition, he lives in the shadow of Haaland in the Etihad.

And during the gripping


from Lusail, the full-backs Gonzalo Montiel (25) and Marcos Acuña (31), protagonists until the World Cup break of a depressed Sevilla, also appeared.

All of them, from less to more, were able to gather around Messi, feed him, feed off each other, and reach for the sky.

On Argentina's list there were 19 debutants in a World Cup, a fact that increased caution before the debut and triggered it after the initial skid against Saudi Arabia, which turned each subsequent date into a final.

Some players, even, not only made their debut at the big event, but they had hardly been seen in the national team.

Enzo Fernández barely added three caps in the previous Qatar;

MacAllister, eight;

and Álvarez, 13. None of this mattered to Scaloni, who adjusted the lineup during the tournament, found solutions with them and entrusted himself to them this Sunday to shelter La Pulga.

At the bank they waited for more resonant surnames, such as Paulo Dybala (29), Lautaro Martínez (25), or even Leandro Paredes (28) and Papu Gómez (34).

Due to the continued absence of the first, they asked the coach halfway through the World Cup and he replied that it was all due to tactical decisions.

The Roma attacker (seven seasons at Juventus) came out for 15 minutes in the semifinals against Croatia with everything done (3-0) and, out of nowhere, appeared in the 120th minute of the final to launch the second Albiceleste penalty (he hit ).

Lautaro, from Inter, lost ownership on the third day of the group stage to the benefit of Julián Álvarez (his agent said he had been touched) and since then only the remains remained (he scored, yes, the decisive maximum penalty against the Netherlands).


Paredes and Papu gave way in the middle before the push of Fernández and Mac Allister.

The athletic Ángel Correa, who also did not appear as a main course on Scaloni's menu, was urgently recruited due to injuries and only had a four-minute courtesy in the semifinals.

The appointment crowned Messi and uncovered a low-profile Scaloni who did not hesitate to insert the scalpel as far as he considered necessary as soon as the outlook was twisted.

During his four-year tenure, he also had to change his initial script.

His original idea was to play vertically, until he realized that it was best to play more with the footballers he managed if he wanted to create the best ecosystem for his star.

He had no qualms about explaining it this Sunday two hours after becoming world champion (he was already one of America).

“The first months we played differently.

When we began to see that the best played what we do now, and we were able to surround Messi with great footballers and make him feel part of it, we began to realize that there was material.

That was a year after taking office.

Only Spain in 2010 had lifted the World Cup after giving up the first duel.

This time, the Albiceleste, with the tweaks of the Pujato coach, added elements to Messi's offensive monoculture in the Qatari start.

Grouped around the 10 and the collective spirit, character sprouted first and then football from their rebellion in the quarter-final extra time against the Netherlands.

The goals of Álvarez, the explosion of Dibu, the solidity of Otamendi, the pulse of Fernández and Mac Allister in a renewed midfield, the image of De Paul organizing and acting as a boss in the face of the threat of Mbappé, Di María goading on the left... Argentina was adding elements in its growth in Doha until the third star was placed on its chest.

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Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2022-12-20

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