Messi and Argentina are overdue for a World Cup Title
Updated: Dec 23, 2022
By: Giancarlo Terrones 🇦🇷 🇵🇪
Imagen a través de (Associated Press/Hassan Ammar)
The year was 2010, my journey through elementary school had come to an end and the FIFA World Cup was taking place in South Africa.
In honor of finishing my elementary school career, my father was a huge Diego Maradona fan since the time he lived in Argentina and worked on the renovations of the historical Bombonera with my uncle back in 1996.
He gifted me a fútbol jersey and the color scheme was sky blue and white. I didn’t know what to think of it until he said, “hijo usted es argentino y tienes que apoyar a tu selección en las buenas y en las malas. Vi a Diego y tu país levantar la copa en ‘86 y espero que puedes ver a Argentina hacerlo otra vez.’’
Ironically, Maradona was coaching this team. It was my first time being introduced to players like Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano, and Ángel Di María.
Once the tournament began, my dad and I watched every game “los albicelestes” played up until their defeat at the hands of Germany in the quarter-finals.
Argentina may have crashed out of the World Cup in 2010 but they had gained a lifelong fan in me. Years went by and disappointment still loomed over the team.
They got knocked out by Uruguay in the 2011 Copa America on home soil and there was an ongoing narrative of Messi being nowhere near Maradona's status without a World Cup title in his trophy cabinet.
Eventually, Alejandro Sabella took over the reins and things began to look promising as the team booked their ticket for the World Cup in 2014 held in Brazil. The campaign was off to a great start, the team won their group and Messi was putting on a show.
Imagen a través de(/Reuters/Dylan Martinez)
However, it was evident that ‘’La Pulga,’’ or Lionel Messi was dragging that team all the way to the final: the semi-finals against the Dutch nearly gave the entire nation a heart attack. The game went to penalties and before they went underway Javier Mascherano told Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero ‘’hoy te convertís en héroe.’’
After that Romero truly became a hero by blocking key penalties. With Maxi Rodríguez
scoring the decisive penalty sending Argentina to the world cup final.
Tears of joy streamed down my face as I hugged my father. The dream and goal was in sight.
Sadly that dream turned into a nightmare when Gonzalo Higuaín missed a crucial shot.
Mario Götze would be subbed on and eventually score the game-winning goal in extra time, turning my tears of joy into tears of sadness.
My father hugged me and said, ‘’lo siento pero siempre acuérdate que el fútbol es como la vida, siempre te da revancha.’’
I held those words close to me as I continued to hope to see my national team win a title. However, little did I know they’d go on to lose two Copa America finals in a row to Chile.
Higuaín once again missed crucial goals that would have given Messi his first international title, making me detest him and never want to see him wear an Argentina jersey again.
Messi temporarily retired, basically leaving the team hopeless as they relied heavily on him.
Years went by and after a horrible world cup campaign in 2018, it seemed like Messi and Argentina were just destined for failure. Then, the Argentine Football Association appointed an interim head coach by the name of Lionel Scaloni, but many people just like me saw this as temporary.
Eventually, they’d appoint an official coach and see what they could do to improve the team but little did I know Scaloni would end up being the solution.
Years went by and progress was being made, new players were being called in, new tactics and formations were being established and I no longer had to worry about Higuaín as he retired from international fútbol.
It was time to give new players a chance. It took some time but Argentina was getting better, they went toe to toe with Brazil in the semi-finals of the 2019 Copa America.
Then they took a giant leap in 2021, winning that year's Copa America against Brazil in the Maracanã Stadium with a crucial goal from Ángel Di María.
It was one of the most memorable nights of my life as I had finally witnessed an international trophy being won and Messi having a Copa America title to his name.
The year is now 2022 and Argentina is no longer fully dependent on Messi. The players that surround him are there to help rather than solely rely on him to claw out a win like in previous years.
Although the 2022 World Cup Campaign got off to a rocky start, they adapted, learned from their mistakes, and turned it around. “La Scaloneta” are playing great fútbol.
On Dec. 18 at 10:00 a.m. Argentina will play "Les Bleus" or France in the World Cup final. Regardless of what happens, Messi’s legacy and greatness will forever be immortalized.
The debate about him being the greatest player in the world has already been put to bed. The team has made the entire country and myself proud.
We hope they can find a way to win and finally give Argentina their third World Cup victory, bring the trophy back to Latin America, and most importantly give Messi his long overdue World Cup title. Muchachos ahora nos volvemos a ilusionar, vamos Argentina!!!!!!