The team has made a comeback thanks to a smart coach, family time, a dinner turnaround, and the team in which Messi is playing for the rest and the rest are playing for Messi. Lionel Scaloni, the manager, requested an early dinner after Saudi Arabia’s victory over Argentina.
Typically, the players eat dinner together or alone, but Scaloni insisted on “dining together” this time. It was easy to see that the mood across the table was gloomy. In the large dining room of the Qatar University, where they are staying, there are no jokes, no conversation, just the sound of knives and spoons clanging. They had a lengthy meeting just hours ago to discuss how to concentrate on the remaining tournaments, but no one mentioned the defeat. Also, Scaloni was told not to talk about their game at dinner.
He told his players about two changes to their practice routines in the middle of dinner. To begin, they would move their sessions from 6 p.m. to 3 p.m. to help players become more accustomed to the oppressive heat of Doha. The manager believed that the sight and support of family was the best form of therapy, so the next step was to allow the players to bring their families into the facility. The following day, the training field resembled a family get-together, with the wives, children, parents, and friends of the players playing kickball.
According to ‘Uniteve’ journalist Fernando Agusta, the players returned from training as a reenergized group rather than as “dead souls,” as Lionel Messi portrayed the locker room atmosphere following the shocking loss. It’s important to spend time with family to relax and enjoy the World Cup. One of Argentina’s bright spots in this tournament, Alexis Mac Allister, said, “It helped us a lot in dealing with the defeat and then bouncing back.”
Not only was the defeat a wake-up call, but it also served as a unifying force.
Scaloni declared following the Netherlands victory: We demonstrated our individuality, and as a result, Argentina has a strong sense of teamwork. We confronted the troublesome snapshots of the game. We value teamwork and knowing what we want and need at all times during the game.
He had earned their trust by supporting them through the most trying time of their careers. For the country, the players were willing to push their physical and mental limits. In a press conference, Lautaro Martinez stated, “We will break our backs for Argentina.”
Scaloni and his assistants, Pablo Aimar, Walter Samuel, and Roberto Ayala, who were all club legends when they were young, got together quickly and made plans and counterplans. like successfully utilizing the 3-5-2 strategy against the Netherlands to combat their own 3-5-2 strategy. Until Scaloni used the 4-2-3-1 again in the final stages, the Dutch barely got a chance.
Argentina also rotated their players; in all five games, they have not started with the same eleven. They gained mobility and incisiveness in the front line by substituting Julio Alvarez for Lautaro Martinez, and his ability to play across the frontline increased the threat to the defense. Numerous new stars, including Enzo Fernandez, Nahuel Molina, Alexis Mac Allister, and Marcos Acuna, emerged similarly to the 22-year-old. Assists and goals came from everywhere.
In any case, it was still Messi who was their spirit and heartbeat. He became the most prolific assist giver in the knockout stages of the World Cup with five thanks to that dreamiest of assists against the Netherlands. Additionally, he has scored twice in as many knockout matches. He had not scored in nine games prior to this.
He has energized this young Argentina team emotionally. On the field, Messi has not shown as much emotion as he has in this tournament. He has been a riot of emotions, unpacking joy and agony, rage and ecstasy, petulance and relief, usually self-effacing and reserved. He has created moments that alter matches while simultaneously remaining Messi.
His relationship with the coach has also been special. Besides being their namesakes, there are parallels. Scaloni, like his teammate Messi at the 2006 World Cup, has played in and out of European leagues a lot of his time away from home. He was criticized for not being “Argentine enough” when he was made manager. Be that as it may, in three years, he has quieted them by winning the COPA, setting a record series of wins of 36 games and presently controlled them to the elimination round.
However, when he took over in 2019, there were rumors that the superstar would retire from international football. His greatest contribution was to win Messi’s trust. In any case, Scaloni by and by called and made sense of his vision and plan, and persuaded him to remain.
Since Messi’s genius emerged, numerous coaches have focused on him but failed to strike a balance between him and the other players. Scaloni, on the other hand, achieved this elusive equilibrium: Messi is part of the team, but the group is also his. The rest supporting Messi, and Messi supporting the rest.
However, Scaloni is not an emotional person. He is aware of the negative effects of being overly emotional. It may occasionally obstruct clear thinking and arouse an impulsive moment that could jeopardize the fairytale farewell script. He informed his team: the feelings of happiness. The match is finished and that is all there is to it. We need to get back to preparing for the match tomorrow. The happiness lasts very little. When you win and lose, you must strike a balance.
In the meantime, Scaloni has become so well-liked that the team and he are both referred to as La Scaloneta, after the well-known Numana song of the same name. He however can’t stand the moniker. ” Scaloni is me. He once stated to the Clarin newspaper, “I don’t like it, but there’s no turning back.” But he brought joy back to their faces, used the best of Messi in Argentina’s jersey, and made the team work as a united force. That day when they lost to Saudi Arabia and Messi said they were dead souls looks like it was yesterday. However, that match changed their World Cup.