Buenos Aires – Argentine star Lionel Messi begins his journey towards achieving the biggest dream ever, facing Ecuador on Thursday in Buenos Aires, at the start of the South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup Qatar.
After a delay of more than six months due to the outbreak of the new Corona virus, the South American qualifiers begin Thursday to the first World Cup in the Middle East region, as Messi renews the dream of winning the biggest title for any player.
At the age of thirty-three, Messi’s coffers are not missing any title at the club level, after he crowned them all with his Barcelona team, and he won all possible personal awards, most notably the golden ball for the best player in the world six times (a record)
Messi has always used a famous phrase on many occasions that “the only dream I did not fulfill was to win the World Cup with the national team,” which lifted the most expensive trophy for the second and last time in 1986 in Mexico, led by legend Diego Maradona.
The dream was very close in the World Cup in Brazil 2014, but Mario Gotze snatched him from Messi and his companions by scoring the winning goal for Germany in the final match.
Experts and analysts confirm that the only star of Argentina can rectify his missteps on many occasions when luck was not an ally for him by embracing the dream title, but they stress the need for the new battalion of the “Tango” team to be able to raise this challenge.
When Messi arrives in Qatar two years from now, he will be thirty-five years old, which makes the 2022 World Cup probably his last chance to try to achieve the dream.
After a convulsive summer and his failed attempt to break free from his contract with Barcelona due to his disagreements with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, Messi hopes that the start of the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup Qatar will form a breath of fresh air with a different flavor than what happened at the start of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, when Argentina lost at the stadium. The legendary Monumental in Buenos Aires against Ecuador in the same 0-2 in October 2015.
Argentina needed Messi’s magic to ensure their qualification to the finals of Russia 2018 by winning the last round of qualifiers against Ecuador 3-1 in Quito thanks to a hat-trick by the Barcelona star, ending the “CONMEBOL” group in third place behind rivals Brazil, Uruguay and ahead of Colombia.
For its first qualifying match at home, Argentina must adapt to a new reality, which is the absence of its loud and eager crowd since matches are held, at least for the time being, behind closed doors due to the repercussions of the new Corona virus.
Playing at the “La Bombonera” stadium of Boca Juniors has always been a nightmare for visiting teams because of the majestic atmosphere, but the absence of the fans will lose Messi and his companions a basic weapon in the face of their Ecuadorian guest.
Players from memory
The absence of the crowd will not be the only change that Messi must adapt to, but rather he will play in a completely different squad than the one that called the 2018 World Cup in the final price at the hands of France, who later crowned the title, as the new coach Lionel Scaloni, who succeeded Jorge Sampaoli after the finals in Russia, depends on Fresh blood, but with the preservation of some elements of the “old guard” in order to secure the experience factor.
Scaloni spoke of “seven or eight players from” memory “that form the basis,” noting that the presence of experienced players makes the national team go as necessary “after one day of training” with the youth.
But the Scaloni team will be without Manchester City’s top scorer Sergio Aguero due to injury, while Paris Saint-Germain winger Engel Di Maria was excluded from the squad.
Scaloni believes that “Messi needs two players to play against him in order to pass the ball to them.” They should be playing in the rear, not on the edge of the area. In this way, we achieved the results in Brazil during the 2019 Copa America, in reference to the third place the national team achieved there.
There is a player who is seriously competing to be Messi’s teammate in the front line, represented by the Sevilla star Lucas Ocampos.
Scaloni said of Ocampos, who is competing with the duo Paolo Dybala (Juventus of Italy) and Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), that he is “strong, technical and scoring goals.” It also helps in the defensive aspect. ”
Before traveling to Bolivia on Tuesday for the second round of the qualifiers, Scaloni and his men hope to take advantage of the difficult stage experienced by the Ecuadorian team, led by a new coach, Argentine Gustavo Alvaro, after the departure of the Dutchman Yordi Cruyff without leading the team in any match.
The Ecuadorian federation used the son of the late legend Johan Cruyff in January, but the outbreak of the new Corona virus suspended sporting activity around the world and ultimately prompted the former Barcelona player to resign in July in light of the uncertainty imposed by Covid-19.
Alvaro coached 13 teams in Argentina and won the Copa Sudamericana Cup with Arsenal in 2007, but it will be the 58-year-old’s first job at the level of national teams.