Four, four, two. Four, three, three. Five, three, two. Four, four, two. Sounds like a long distance call. Or a broken record by Raffaella Carrà. In reality, it is Lionel Scaloni’s laboratory that is fully operational in the Qatar National University bunker. And this demonstrates its effectiveness, as if scientists had carried out nuclear fusion, in this World Cup in Qatar. Everyone worships Lionel Messi. Everyone applauds the tireless Julián Álvarez. But the coaching staff, with its chameleon-like schemes, plays into his hands. And he wins them. Of course, everything is easier if you have Messi in Messi mode.
Did Scaloni want to give Croatia the ball in this semi-final or not? If that was the plan. It was a master plan. Because the idea of populating the midfield to hinder the virtuous circuit that Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic have put together wasn’t bad at all. However, in the first 25 minutes of the game, the idea didn’t work out. The rival had the ball and was hanging around, without running too much danger, the goal of Dibu Martínez.
Argentina bet on the cut. But Enzo Fernández was not well. And the counterattacks have not finished going out. Argentina has lost the battle. Messi hardly got into the game. Julián ran and ran making diagonals for mouths that never arrived. Messi spoke to De Paul. De Paul spoke with Scaloni. Obviously things didn’t work out.
Was this the strategy? Definitely yes. They reached five minutes of fury for the party to agree with him. Enzo calibrated his sights and found Julián diving into the void. And the rigor has arrived. And Messi’s goal came, the eleventh in 25 World Cup matches. Immediately, when Croatia was recovering from the pinnazo, Julián, after an assist from Leo to Negro Enrique, made one of the only rangers in a lethal counterattack and, with luck on his side, scored the 2-0. The party was already from Argentina. On the pitch and in the opponent’s head.
Already in the second half Croatia went looking for him and put four up front. Once again, Scaloni showed his pragmatism to understand the moment and return to the back row of five. Licha Martínez came in and Paredes came out. The team fell well behind. Come out against, open up with Molina and Tagliafico, and play on the opponent’s nerves. Was Croatia coming? Until there. Not too much.
It was, after those initial doubts, the first leg for Argentina. But something else was missing that was perfect. And this didn’t come from Scaloni’s workshop, but from Messi’s magic in Messi mode. And Messi in Messi mode does things like what he did in Argentina’s third goal. It was Julián Álvarez’s second, but FIFA should give it to La Pulga. Break everything, guys of the International Board. Because if Maradona’s goal against the English was the best goal in World Cup history, Messi’s assist for Julián was the best assist in World Cup history.
Lusail, Qatar. Special delivery.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.