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Argentina’s final act of combativeness after World Cup defined by it


On a night of sensory overload, it was perhaps fitting that the last scenes were almost as bright and loud as the previous ones.

You heard the Argentina squad before you saw it, the thin walls of the mixed zone shuddering and collapsing with their jabs and jumps.

More than three hours passed after Gonzalo Montiel took his penalty and they finally arrived, apparently to speak to the media.

Except they only sang to them, Lionel Messi lifting the World Cup with everyone else looking on adoringly, while constantly singing the same lyrics.

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“It doesn’t matter what those journalist whores say, the whore that gave birth to them.”

That was a song that started in the 2021 Copa América, that first international trophy that was so important to unite this group for this World Cup, as a reaction to some of the criticism of Lionel Scaloni’s team.

It was one last little conflict, a sample of the combativeness that has characterized this team’s World Cup, especially in the final. A point was made.

The Argentine players would not stop talking. In fact, it was the first time that Messi failed to fulfill his press duties in the entire tournament, although it is fair to say that leaving the independent Watching him dance up and down with the World Cup just two feet away was a moment worth more than any words mixed up. This was football history. These are the events you remember.

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Many of the Argentine players may not remember much of this, but only because it was one of such enthusiastic joy that they get lost in the moment. It is impossible to take him in, and he can only be hugged.

That’s probably why it’s equally fair to say that we may not make much sense of them. In many of the posts on social media, many of the Argentine players were just cursing, unable to believe what had happened.

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It seemed almost like a religious experience, especially when Messi was lifted on the shoulders of a crowd of hundreds of adorers on the same Lusail pitch.

And there is the most important question, when everything is cleared up and the blue and white colors are removed, what does this victory really mean?

What can you get out of it? What does this victory in the World Cup say? What is your legacy in terms of football and as a historical milestone in the history of the game?

The identity of the team itself doesn’t say much.

It’s the historic outlier of having a player who can now be called the greatest ever, his immense range of gifts elevating a team that is otherwise good rather than great.

Argentina was not always convincing. They were often very vulnerable, and it was consistent with the rest of this World Cup that they came so close to going out.

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They were not unified or made unique by any larger soccer idea or broader soccer culture, given the long-term dysfunction within the Argentine game.

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Through that though, they bucked a trend that makes this triumph historically important for reasons beyond Messi leading Argentina to its first and third World Cup.

Had France managed to win, after all, it would have been the fourth consecutive World Cup won by a wealthy Western European country with industrialized youth production. It would also have done so at least 24 years since it was won by a team from outside Europe.

That is of immense importance. In this period of great financial inequality in the game, such redistribution is urgently required and it is something that World Cup victories obviously help with.

It’s one thing that Gianni Infantino, for all his clumsy attempts to be more prominent at Messi’s moment of deepest glory, is right.

It’s also another way the brilliant Scaloni got it right at this tournament. That is where there could well be a lesson.

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When you add it all up, Argentina didn’t have as good a team or squad as France. Perhaps you could say something similar when comparing them to many teams in this World Cup.

However, they had a good fight and excellent tactical adaptability that made them more effective than any other.

How many times did Scaloni change shape to reshape games? It was profoundly impressive, and something missing from teams that had a Messi closer to his peak and far better players.

That really shouldn’t be overlooked. That is almost the irony of this victory, and Scaloni’s great feat of alchemy to accompany the wonders of Messi.

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Scaloni was masterful in charting his team’s career in the tournament


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It meant that Argentina was in your face but had a calculating mentality behind it. It all added up to an emotional drive that took them beyond France and everyone else.

Even in a game that went to extremes, there were possibly only 15 minutes where France were the better team, when they turned it on, and that’s when they were chasing. There at that stage it just looked like a winner but it didn’t last long.

Once leveled, Argentina went back up. Messi, who had given the ball away for Kylian Mbappé’s superb second, once again led the game. He could have even won the game before extra time with that exceptional shot from distance.

What a way to win that would have been and yet it still feels like this was the only way it could have gone and consequently the best way it could have gone.

It just emphasized the qualities that really won Argentina in the World Cup, Messi’s divine ability with the team’s challenge.

Argentina seemed certain to win the World Cup twice in the 120 minutes, only because of the doubt of returning. That could have killed other sides, especially once it got to penalties. Like in the group stage, like against Australia, like against the Netherlands.

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That made it even more appropriate, as well as more light-hearted. Of course, they had to go through suffering to get there. It couldn’t have been done any other way, really.

However, it shows the value of old-fashioned spirit and the challenge of intangible qualities that go beyond the logic that France is the better team.

This match often went beyond logic. It was driven by emotion, exactly like Argentina.

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