The Argentine Team has not Lost Since the Semifinals of the Copa América 2019 Against Brazil and, Since Then, has Accumulated 22 Wins and 11 Draws that Place it as a Serious Candidate to Win the 2022 Qatar World Cup..
Photo: FB-AFA Argentina National Team
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
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Argentina begins to gain strength towards the Qatar World Cup, and not precisely because of the group in which it was placed in the draw, but because of the high level of its game, which has allowed it to win the 2021 Copa América and accumulate 33 games undefeated with only 11 draws, based on defensive solidity, a united core, the factor Lionel Messi and his coach, Lionel Scaloni.
The 5-0 win over Estonia last week in Pamplona, after doing the same over Italy 3-0 in the 'Finalissima', allowed him to reach the respectable figure, a streak that began in mid-2019 in the match for the third place of the Copa América Brazil 2019 that they played and won 2-1 over Chile.
Thus, this national team equaled the record of that team led by Alfio Basile between 1991 and 1993, which coincidentally was also crowned in the Copa América in Ecuador 1993 and in the 'Finalissima' that same year against Denmark . But, what are the factors that keep this Argentina of today in that unbeatable dynamic?
The best thing about this albiceleste national team is that it does not depend on what its top star Lionel Messi does, as it happened for many years. With Scaloni, Argentina found personality thanks to its defensive work, balance with midfielders in great shape and forcefulness with elite attackers like Messi himself, as well as Lautaro Martínez and Ángel Di María.
His goalkeeper, Emiliano "Dibu" Martínez, has also been key under the three sticks with his rebellious and provocative style. His performance in the Copa América penalties against Colombia boosted his career. In general, it is a team of workers who fulfill and know their functions very well and there we have to name Rodrigo De Paul, Guido Rodríguez, Giovany Lo Celso, Roberto Acuña and those who come from the bench like Paulo Dybala.
All these factors have allowed Messi to play with less pressure, not being the center of attention of a squad in which anyone can be the hero of the day, and to get spaces without the obligation to make great physical runs as it was in the past when all the previous coaches tried to turn the team around him and that is what Lionel Scaloni has done best, generating such good group performance that the presence of the PSG star is not essential.
For Scaloni, the game that FIFA forces them to play against Brazil as a visitor to complete the Conmebol qualifying schedule is the most uncomfortable of their era and in which they can perfectly lose their unbeaten record against the almighty Verdeamarela. In that sense, the AFA exhausts instances and even went to the TAS with the aim of avoiding playing said commitment.
But the young coach has broken down barriers, and not only is his streak compared to that of 'Coco' Basile, but he has managed to give his country's team a stability in collective functioning that more renowned strategists could not in the recent past. like Gerardo 'Tata' Martino, Sergio 'Checho' Batista, Jorge Sampaoli, or Edgardo 'Patón' Bauza . Yes, the much criticized and inexperienced Scaloni was the one who made it possible to end the losing streak of 28 years without winning titles.
At Brazil 2019, Argentina last lost to Brazil 2-0 in the semi-finals. From there, the story began with a 2-1 victory over Chile in the match for third place. In friendly matches, there are seven games with four wins and three ties, highlighting the 4-0 win over Mexico, which will be one of their rivals in the Qatar 2022 group stage in addition to Saudi Arabia and Poland.
In the successful South American Qualifiers for the World Cup, there were 11 victories and six draws, highlighting the 3-0 win over their neighbor Uruguay and a very solid 0-2 win over Peru in Lima. Finally, in Copa América 2021 they won five and equaled two, highlighting the victory in the Maracaná in the final over the host and favorite Brazil with that goal by Di María.
It is necessary to mention three other great teams that still have the longest undefeated in history. Italy went 37 games without losing between 2018 and 2021, crowning themselves at Euro 2021. Then there is Brazil with its streak of 35 games between 1993 and 1996, a streak during which they became world champions in the United States in 1994. The podium closes with Spain also with 35 games between 2007 and 2009, a period in which 'La Furia' had the luxury of winning 33 and barely drawing two as monarchs of Euro 2008.
As you can see, Argentina is five games away from overcoming those streaks, but above all, they entered a group where all the teams were crowned in the middle of their positive chains, will the same thing happen with them?