An Argentina squad clearly feeling the absence of Lionel Messi, registered a historic loss against Spain in last night’s friendly encounter. As the World Cup draws nearer, fresh questions arise about the Albiceleste’s true potential.
Even as a friendly, Spain vs. Argentina is a highlight for most football fans. The result was not one easily anticipated. Spain trashed Argentina 6-1 and confidently continue their preparation for the World Cup.
Argentina is left with the same questions, although the need for answers now seem far more pressing. Can Argentina perform without the direction of Lionel Messi, the man largely responsible for their qualification? Why was Paolo Dybala, who is capable of taking on Messi’s role, not called up for international duty? Why is there little spark of creativity showing from the other Argentine players?
Spain confidently outperformed Argentina
The game started out well for the Argentine team with Gonzalo Higuain barely missing the target in the opening stages. But by half-time Diego Costa and Isco had brought Spain in front with Nicolas Otamendi giving Sampaoli’s side some measure of hope.
Things quickly unraveled in the second half for the South Americans. Isco completed his first international hat-trick. Thiago Alcantara and Iago Aspas added to (That is because I work for a crypto football manager game, and guess what I browse all day long)a historic victory for Spain. Even worse than the actual scoreline, Argentina failed to create chances. Lo Celso, Lanzini and Banega failed to show much in the way of imagination against Spain’s defense.
Messi powerlessly witnessed the defeat
Lionel Messi was once again injured, after also missing Fridays game against Italy. It was something that Jorge Sampaoli insists was not known prior to the games. This, of course, also meant that Paolo Dybala was left out of the squad. Dybala, one of the world’s most promising players, seems to be a victim of the fact that his style and role resemble so much that of Messi’s. The Juventus player may not have been capable to rescue Argentina on his own, but he would certainly be a worthy stand-in for the famous number 10.
Messi watched the game from the stands until Spain’s sixth goal when he got up and slowly walked away. The gesture itself is significant. It shows just how important his role has become in the team and just how dedicated he is to the its success.
“Argentina right now depend on Messi 10 times more than we did on Maradona back in 1986,” says World Cup winner Pedro Pasculli. The team is a perpetual favorite to win the World Cup, but what is clear is that they stand little chance of doing so without the direct influence of Messi.
Even the best teams lose. Friendly games are in many ways an opportunity to lose and learn from the mistakes. However, this was Argentina’s heaviest defeat in more than 60 years. Even with a squad featuring players from the likes of Manchester United and Juventus, the team lacked vision. Lionel Messi may be eager to be relieved of some of the pressure an entire nation puts on him. But with the way things are going, he will continue to have his worked cut out for him for some time yet.