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How Did the Argentina National Team Become So Strong

Updated: 2 days ago

Argentina is on the verge of becoming a team that can win Copa America back to back, After they won it in 2021 they have sighted the title in 2024 too. Lionel Messi is at the centre of it, but “How did this Argentinan National team become so strong?”, this is the same team that lost to Chile back to back in Copa America Finals. It is the same team that lost to France in the round of 16 in the 2018 World Cup, A team so weak at its core that the president had to beg Messi to come back from retirement, which he announced after Argentina lost the Copa America to Chile in 2016. 

how argentina national team become so strong?

This Argentine national team didn’t become strong overnight, It consists of intelligent team handling, management, and most of all influence of legendary players like Lionel Messi. But we can trace all this started in 2018 after that miserable World Cup campaign against France. 

The Sacking Of Sampaoli

The main reason for electing Sampaoli as the Head Coach of the Argentinan National team was for his success with the Chilean National team as he guided them to the Copa America title in 2015 beating Argentina in penalties. He came with a high reputation and with hope that he was the man to turn things around. 

In reality, Argentina became much weaker than before, Argentina had a miserable qualifying campaign and even making it to the World Cup Finals in 2018 seemed hard, it all came down to that game against Ecaudor, had Argentina lost or even drawn that game “it was all over for Argentina”. However Lionel Messi stepped up for the game and saved Argentina, but it came with a realisation that this Argentina National team was nothing without Messi.

The tactics Sampaoli implemented for Argentinians were not all “competent” The main reason behind the failure of Sampaoli was that “he experimented with the squad way too much”, this created great confusion within the squad as players couldn’t figure out their exact role in the team, the defence was horrible and Lionel Messi played a very deep role and was not as efficient as he was in the attack, But Argentina at that time was full of mediocre players. Managing the Argentinian National team comes with huge pressure as a team is always expected to do good as they have a global fan following all around the world. 

There was a report that players even revolted in changing the “coach” midway through the tournament, Samapaoli gradually lost the trust front the Board and was sacked after the Argentinian exited at the hands of France in 2018. 

How Lionel Scaloni Changed This Argentine National Team? - A blessing in Disguise

Lionel Scaloni's signing was a panic move from the Argentina board, which means he was hired as an interim manager until a new world-class manager wasn’t appointed. “How did this turn out?”. He not only managed the team but he “assembled” the team, and he became a mastermind Argentina desperately needed, It turned out that All Argentina needed was bonding team chemistry and the influx of new players. 

Scaloni did exactly that, he bought the under one roof, he took out all the ego problems from the dressing room, gave crucial roles to the senior team members and trusted the young players that were coming through. Scaloni well improvised tactics and was able to impress the fans and the coaching staff in the World Cup qualifying and the Copa America. 

The main reason why Lionel Scaloni succeeded with Argentina was because he was able to bring the table under “one roof”, A real team bonding of “brotherhood”. The players understand each other privately and started having great understanding on the field.  This increased the team-play and “team chemistry” that helped Argentina clear a team that was stronger than them but lacked chemistry. Players could find passes even without looking at each other because “one knew exactly where the receiver would be”. This was a brilliant team chemistry that not only made the team stronger but was also pleasing to watch for the viewers. 

In a recent interview Lionel Scaloni was asked about team chemistry he said. 

Everyone is emotionally connected and knows what is happening to one another 

Lionel Scaloni's tactics worked, and his trust in younger players paid off, Argentina won a dramatic “World Cup” in Qatar, and the goals scored in this tournament by Argentina are some of the most beautiful goals that have ever been scored in the finals.

How did Lionel Messi Guide Argentina National Team

We saw the images that flooded the internet when Lionel Messi was seen crying with the Argentine national team in the 2015, and 2016 Finals, the images every Messi fan still remembers for the type of heartbreak he had gone through. “The image of Messi looking dead while staring at the World Cup in 2014”. At least he achieved everything he had dreamed of and that too with a team that supports him with everything they have.

A new generation of players came to this Argentine National team, the players that had seen Messi play and he was everything they had seen on TV when they were young, some were as crazy as writing a letter for this hero(Lionel Messi) when he announced his retirement and some cheered him through stands(Emi Martinez). They all met with one ambition “glory for Messi”. A bond so strong for their hero this new Argentinian player who saw Messi while growing up and was ready to go on a war for him. 

We have seen Players like Rodri De Paul acting like someone who is no lesser than his brother, players like Enzo Fernandez, Mac Allister, and Emi Martinez who see Lionel Messi as a literal hero.

This team was not Made for “Messi” but was made by Messi, A generation of players that knows exactly how he plays and can adapt to his style, senior members of the team like Di Maria were more than happy to guide this player. The players seem to find Messi with every pass, we saw that in Copa America 2021 and also in World Cup “2022” and now we are also seeing this in Copa America 2024. Messi on the other hand surrounded by the players who know him so well that he can now find them with magical passes. 

His new-found teammates did unlock something in him as he was truly unplayable against the Netherlands, Mexico, and France in Qatar. He completed a beautiful arc in football history that has cemented his name in the top list of “greatest Players of all time”

In Conclusion

Argentina didn’t need a tactical overhaul they needed a squad that could fight and have a clear motive for success, Lionel Scaloni’s appointment unlocked exactly that and gave Argentina that boost that they needed,  Not to mention Messi becoming a cult hero for his teammates and inspiring them to win a showboat of trophies

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