Argentina’s road to the 2022 World Cup final
Lionel Scaloni’s men are one step away from glory after facing adversity. We take a look at La Albiceleste’s path to the final.
Argentina entered the tournament as one of the top two favorites to go all the way in Qatar together with Neymar’s Brazil.
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A mix of talented veteran and young players led by all-time great Lionel Messi looked like the perfect time to try to conquer their third World Cup title ever and truth is that formula has worked.
The South Americans will now have the opportunity of defeating France in the final and win the title, which would be Messi’s first World Cup trophy, the only important tournament La Pulga hasn’t won yet.
Fans and players have reasons to be happy and excited for having reached the last round of the tournament, but their start to the tournament wasn’t exactly a dream one.
Argentina will play their ‘third final’
The soccer world was shocked after witnessing one of the biggest upsets in recent World Cup editions, when Arabia Saudi, arguably the weakest team in the competition, defeated Argentina in their Group C opener (1-2).
That embarrassing loss left Lionel Scaloni’s men with no room for more mistakes in the group stage: they were obliged to defeat Mexico to avoid elimination and Poland too in what was considered do-or-die games.
Against Gerardo Martino’s side, Messi took the reigns on the pitch and guided the team to a hard-worked victory in the second half (2-0).
However, the job wasn’t entirely done. Argentina also needed to beat Poland, as depending on the Arabia Saudi vs. Mexico result, they could be kicked out too. La Albiceleste proved to be the more experienced team in this kind of games and emerged victorious against Robert Lewandowski’s Poland (2-0).
Argentina ended up topping Group C, which set a round of 16 game vs. the surprising Australian team. The two-time world champs managed to defeat Graham Arnold’s team men in a match where Argentina were the superior squad, despite the final score.
Tougher opponents in the latter stages
In the quarterfinals, one of the most solid teams, the Netherlands, was waiting, with coach Louis Van Gaal on an impressive 19-game unbeaten streak since he took the Oranje team.
In arguably the best game played in Qatar, luck was on Argentina’s side, as they advanced to the semifinals after defeating their opponents in the penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw in 120 minutes of game (4-3 on penalties).
With only two steps away from the title, Messi and co. had to face Croatia, who against all odds defeated Brazil also from the penalty spot. Many expected Luka Modric’s side to pose a real threat, but reality showed that Scaloni’s pupils were too strong for the European side, who were never close to defeating the Argentinians (3-0).
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