Messi started the World Cup with a penalty goal.  A joy that quickly vanished
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DOHA (Special envoy).- A penalty to start. Same as in Russia 2018. That time, Messi he did not convert it, and it was pointed out as the beginning of the problems of the team led by Jorge Sampaoli at that time. This time the story was different, now the energy was supposed to be different. The serenity of his auction corroborated it. However, that was not a reason for Argentina to have a convincing debut in the World Cup Qatar 2022. We will have to start looking for a place to place this meeting with Saudi Arabia among the hardest blows that the team suffered in the history of the World Cups.

If it is said that sport is a state of mind, then the good moment that Messi was going through –and the whole team– should have been enough to get ahead. But reality once again surpassed a team that established itself as a “giant of intercasa”, but that did not have international contact. That he built his personality with a style that works in South America, but that needs to be validated on big dates. And he couldn’t even check it out with an Asian rival.

Summary Argentina vs Saudi Arabia

In Russia 2018, Hannes Thor Halldórsson saved Messi’s penalty, the team did not recover emotionally and drew 1-1 with Iceland. The subsequent debacle it was a consequence of many other things, but it started with that misstep. A penalty with the complicity of VAR gave Messi revenge at the Lusail stadium. But not even that “push of fortune” is enough to get rid of the bitter taste that he has in the World Cups.

It was not a good first half for Messi. He had a hard time understanding the Saudi Arabian style. It was known that Hervé Renard’s team usually plays with their baseline advanced. But it was something he did on his continent, against rivals who don’t have such a hierarchy. Nobody imagined that he was going to take such a risk against Argentina. Perhaps he was rightly surprised by not changing the approach.

A possible solution would have been precisely for Messi to be delayed to fulfill a role in which he has already proven to be very good, as a pitcher. But he always kept going. Thus he fell offside in the goal that was annulled, as would later happen twice with Lautaro Martínez.

Messi started the World Cup with a penalty goal. A joy that quickly vanished

The first game of his last World Cup had him as an intermittent participant, as usually happens in recent seasons. Logical at 35 years. Of course, his interventions are usually so decisive that it is not clear if he participates a lot or little.

The jolt that meant conceding two goals in less than ten minutes of the second half exposed his situation more, as usually happens with the national team and with each team he plays for. Because what is always expected is that the solutions come with him. But with each passing year, naturally, his physical response is less.

ARGENTINE VS. SAUDI ARABIA: the analysis of the match from the writing of LA NACION

Surely it is a point to take into account when in recent times it began to be said that this is the best version of his career. Naturally, maturity will be able to grant you attributes that you did not have in your youth. He did not lack self-esteem to ask for the ball, to try. But physically, that is very difficult. Even his lack of reaction in the final part of the game cast doubt on his real state of form.

Before starting the World Cup, he chose to speak to the press. Something unusual. He said that he is willing to enjoy every moment more. But it is difficult for the old ghosts not to return after a game like this.

The end of the match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia
The end of the match between Argentina and Saudi ArabiaHannibal Greco

The easiest opponent in the group put the team in a very delicate situation facing the classification. The continental laurels, which were so enjoyed for more than a year, were not enough to earn respect against the brave selected from Saudi Arabia.

The questions that open are enormous. For Messi, a veteran of five World Cups, and for a group that until two days ago boasted of arriving at this event with the necessary replacement of 19 new World Cup players. Scaloni also suffered the doubts of the first-timer. His captain did not rescue him and neither did the unit of a group that felt unbeatable.

Perhaps that last play, in which he was left with the ball in the area, with the goalkeeper scattered, will serve to define his game and that of the national team. He searched for the angle, never found it, turned around, got tangled up… and ended up losing.

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