La Scaloneta established itself with a sublime performance against a former world champion who fought and played when Argentina got distracted. The keys to a fair champion.
By age, it is the fifth final of the world that touches me. It is one of “my tie-breaker”, I “won” two, “I lost” two, and I always tried to make rationality win over the fan that I have inside, and that escapes me all the time.
But this final did not feel as much as the previous ones. Yes, as a fan of Diego Maradona and his football, I always wanted him to do well, to be happy, for him to win the world championship every day. But I wasn’t as much a fan of the 1986 team and less of the 1990s as I was of the 1978 team and as I am of La Scaloneta. Nor, of course, was I a fan of Alejandro Sabella’s team in the 2014 World Cup. Be careful, just because I’m not a fan, just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean I don’t recognize his virtues.
With the team that Lionel Scaloni technically directs, other things happen to me. I like it, it represents me, it surprises me, it solves things in the game that I can’t even imagine in my wildest dreams. As did the selection of José Pekerman, the great football father of this Scaloneta, whom we will always have to thank for this moment. And also to César Luis Menotti, director of selections of the Argentine Football Association, and great person in charge of the soccer power that is the national team for almost half a century, since he was the coach who made respect like nobody else in history, the work, and organization in the selected one.
Also from “skinny”, a bit, are the title of ’86 and the runners-up of 90 and 2014, although the billardists are surprised by what I write. And of course, this 2022 has him among those responsible. But beware, there is no crack there: Bilardo and Sabella inherited that organization for which El Flaco fought so hard, but if they had been there at that time and in that place, they would have done the same: privilege the national team above all things, pettiness, threads, and personal interests.
Yes, all these things are at stake in the soul and hearts of Argentine soccer fans. But in what has to do with the game, with the game itself… that’s another story.
The final started with a long ball from France and a foul against Rodrigo de Paul. High pressure from Les Bleus, which if they do not recover, they are needed, forcing La Escaloneta to try to jump lines. Very, very nervous in the first moments, but Lío opened for Di María from the left, center, good touching from Messi and De Paul but the final pass to Julián was with the Cordovan striker offside.
Argentina press, recovers, plays, and touches. More than interesting the first minutes of the game at La Scaloneta, enthusing everyone. France gets tangled up in defense, and a push to Cuti Romero in a cross, raised doubts, but the VAR was off, apparently.
At 16, a great recovery from De Paul touched Messi but Di María was left to the right and “hung it” eight meters above the crossbar. Good game, intense, from La Scaloneta, which leaves no space for France, who cannot find the ball, but is always dangerous when it does. De Paul escaped and Cuti Romero ended up committing a violation on the edge of the box to the right of Dibu which ended in an attacking foul by Girou.
In the next play, the Scaloneta puts a lot of people in the rival area, and that’s how the penalty came to Di María that Lío changed for a goal.
France wanted to but lost it in attack, five touches, qualification for Di María who scored the second entering diagonally. Argentina is more with the ball, Argentina is more in the counterattack, and Argentina is more in result in the 37 minutes of the first half.
With the 2-0 in favor, Argentina slowed down but without changing the script. Have the ball, touch, and look for spaces. Seven minutes of discount in the first half… France handled the ball a little more, made two substitutions five minutes from the end, looking for the reaction…
Argentina took 45 seconds to get into the French area in the second half, touching, and opening up the spaces, but they missed the final pass and controlled the goalkeeper. If you lose the initiative, look for the third. Roba cute, play di maría, they open for De Paul, he hits the floor, the goalkeeper controlled again.
The first for France was a corner that was not, a cut from the center of Dibu that comes out quickly on the right with Di María, who changes sectors, plays De Paul, winger.
The first corner of the second half for Argentina at 8 minutes. France tried a little more, went ahead, wanted to handle the ball, and cause a mistake in Argentina, which fell behind. At 25, Mbappé had it, he went two meters above the crossbar.
There were 12 minutes left, and we fell asleep for a minute, Otamendi missed the mark and it was the penalty for France in an isolated play. The world champion discounted, although Dibu Martínez had guessed the suit. Terrible forehand from Mbappé, with his quality and gave life to the French and they enlarged. They got within shot of the tie and found it. They took it from Messi, they crossed it and in two minutes, all the good that La Scaloneta had done is diluted in fatigue, and lack of concentration, and there are eight minutes to go…
Mbappé’s slaps hurt, and Argentina tried to go. Without legs, risking a deadly counterattack from France. La Scaloneta tried to recover the good game that took it to the final. But it was not enough. That’s football. You handle the ball and the game, the spirit and the result for 75 minutes and in two minutes you are left with nothing. France never surrendered, not even in its worst moments. And he had his prize. He had his hits. He had more air, and he did it… It was, it was and it was in less than half an hour, as Argentina had done in the rest of the game.
What did Argentina lack? Damn, how difficult to think about it… In principle, concentration. Legs. Control Mbappé, who in two minutes killed you… Any other change? Twenty years we will discuss and remember this final…
There was one more, 52 minutes into the second half, he tried from a medium distance and the goalkeeper took it from the corner… The last one in regulation time? Of Argentina. That they played a great game, a great final, but in front of them they had the world champion, they had Mbappé, another great team that when it seemed that they were running out of ideas, they were dejected, scored two goals in one breath and destroyed everything that was good. that La Escaloneta had done.
At the time of playing extra time, Argentina wanted to stand better than at the painful end of regulation time. Try, play, draw strength from where there was none. But believing in football took him to the final. And to seek victory with the best weapons. It was again a little more in the first half of the supplementary, although without depth.
France looked for a shot, taking advantage of the Argentine fatigue, taking advantage of its speed. But Argentina left a better image in the first extra period, although we know that it is not enough…
Start of the second extra time, Argentina starts trying to attack. Searching with your ideas, win the game. He went, he tried, he touched, he put people in the area, Lautaro touched, raised Lloris’s hands, grabbed the messy rebound, three to two… on side… Up again, trembling again…
The only one in France’s extra time, Mbappé tests the goal and hits Montiel on the elbow. The Frenchman did not forgive and made it 3 to 3 from a penalty. And Argentina, faithful to its spirit, went to finish the game on top, fighting, playing, trying to avoid penalties in the little that was left…France had it too, eh? Before the three minutes of discount, a poisoned cross from Mbappé, they did not manage to connect and he went to the side of the corner …
The best game of the 21st century, this Argentina-France game that ended 2-2 in the game and 3-3 in extra time, needed penalties to find a winner… Argentina was a little more in the game, in the 90s, and in the extra 30. But France never gave up.
Start kicking France, like against the Netherlands.
Start by kicking Mbappé, the third penalty of the final. The two went to the right of Martinez. French is very good. The Argentine goalkeeper touched it, but he broke his hand and the bow.
Messi hits the first Argentinian penalty, and slowly, he gave the goalkeeper time to throw himself the other way, Lloris corrected, but it didn’t come the same.
Eat hits him with an iron, but he had Dibu Martínez in front of him, and he took her out with his chest and face.
Dybala slowly in the middle recovers the Argentine advantage. Two to one.
chomeini hits him on the third French penalty and it was outside when Dibu hit the stick…
Paredes, another cool one went to kick the third. The goalkeeper hit the stick, but he left France with no margin for error. Three to one.
Kolomabi broke his high and medium strong bow. Three to two.
Gonzalo Montiel goes for the fourth penalty. World Champions!!!!
Emiliano Martinez. His participation in the first half was more to control a play, to play with his teammates who looked for him under pressure from France than to have to cover one-on-one, a mid-distance shot, or cut a center. He went out of the area and fumbled, saved by De Paul. He hit the penalty, but it was insufficient, nothing to do in the second for France, a great save in stoppage time… and in stoppage time he took a shot on goal with his left leg.
Nahuel Molina had good containment occupying spaces in the first outpost of Mbappé, controlling and diluting the attack. Well sending himself to the attack, although the plays have been diluted.
Cristian Romero was strong in a couple of situations, perhaps unnecessarily, facilitating a free kick, without much significance. He tried to join in the attack.
Nicholas Otamendi. The good first half for Nico, who never got complicated, against a disoriented France, without the ball and who couldn’t find a way around the game in the first stage
Nicolas Tagliafico. Good start, and good partnerships with Di María on the wing.
Rodrigo DePaul. He touches, shows himself, attacks, and recovers. He makes a mistake and returns to correct his mistake,
Enzo Fernández moving well in midfield, helping in defense when necessary and partnering with Alexis and Lio when possible. He works, he fights, he searches for the goal, and he associates with his teammates.
Alexis Mac Allister had the first mid-distance shot, a failed exit from France, controlled and hit it from the outside, to be bagged by the goalkeeper. I passed a goal to Di María, millimeter, when he also had the chance, selfishly, to try him. He thought at that moment about the team, that Fideo was going to have the most open goal, and that was the ball for the 2-0.
Angel Di María received two good changes from the front, all the attacks go through his feet, he opens up like an old wing, surprises by making the diagonal to the middle, they did not find a way around him, but he did not finish hitting the mark either. How did they see it? I don’t know but they decided to throw it once more, the ball so that it overflowed, it went into the area, a penalty after 21 minutes of the first half. He touches, dribbles, moves, and recovers… at 15 he enabled Messi, who missed the bitten shot off the side of the post. They gave him the penalty, he made the second, and he came out at 19 of the second half, applauded by the entire soccer universe…
Lionel Messi was good in the first interventions, playing and even cutting. Anxious, he committed some mistake in his eagerness to recover. Like Di Maria, what to say? He was also in all the attacks. Despite this, to Lloris’s left, well, well, well, next to the post, he scored the penalty while the goalkeeper dived to the other side. Yes, another record: he scored goals in the round of 16, in the quarterfinals, in the semi, and in the final…
Julian Alvarez. Attentive in high pressure, seeking to recover in the French field, like Lío, he missed some foul in his eagerness to go for the ball. He presses, attacks, and goes back to the middle to catch a rebound. At 13 in the second half, they took a ball down next to the post.
Marcos Acuna. Sure, he doesn’t have the elegance of the Noodle, but he gets in, he knows, he plays. He tried, associated, scored…
Montiel. He came on to play overtime. To give air to La Scaloneta, which needed it so much…
Lautaro Martinez for Julian Alvarez. To break his soul in the area, the first he had, passed where messi left him alone, but they just closed it… The second was an extraordinary clearance from Acuña, who wanted to hit him, it bounced off a defender, but they denied us the corner and gave the first extra time is over.
Leandro Paredes for an exhausted Rodrigo De Paul… Nice qualification for Acuña in the first one he played.
Guido Pezzella entered for Alexis at five of the 120… To defend with his head…
Paulo Dybala for Tagliafico in the three minutes… He tried in attack, and when the game forced him to defend, he was responsible for conjuring up a play by Mbappé, the best on the pitch, the best in the world, he dribbled four in a square meter, but Dybala turned it around, who was not in any manual …