FIFA World Cup Group C Preview: Messi's Last Shot At Glory - Eastern Mirror
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FIFA World Cup Group C preview: Messi’s last shot at glory

By IANS Updated: Nov 11, 2022 11:30 pm
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Fans of Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi take out a procession ahead of FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, in Kozhikode, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. (PTI Photo)

Doha, Nov. 11 (IANS): In a group where Argentina are the only team in the top 10 in FIFA’s last rankings before the FIFA World Cup kicks off in November, Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia will also be vying for a ticket to the round of 16.

It has been 36 years since Argentina last won the World Cup. If 35-year-old Lionel Messi wants to recreate the team’s golden age after Mario Kempes in 1978 and Diego Maradona in 1986, this might well be his last shot at glory, reports Xinhua.

Although nobody on the team made this year’s Ballon d’Or 30-man list, the Albiceleste are feeling their oats after beating rivals Brazil to win the Copa America last year, and the team is now more creative, balanced and united since head coach Lionel Scaloni took charge in 2019.

But midfielder Giovani Lo Celso injured his right hamstring in last weekend’s La Liga game and will miss the World Cup. Despite not playing a single minute in Russia four years ago, Lo Celso has become a regular starter and Messi’s best partner. His ability to control the ball and create chances in multiple positions, especially on the left side, could have released Messi closer to the goal area.

How to fit in a replacement in an already polished and well-shaped squad is something Scaloni will have to work on in the next few days.

Messi will no doubt be one of the headliners in Qatar as he chases the World Cup one last time. Having scooped the FIFA World Youth Championship in 2005, an Olympic gold medal in 2008 and the Copa America title in 2021, along with every possible titles at club level, Messi’s trophy room has everything except the World Cup.

There’s nothing much more to say about how and why Messi is the best player on the planet; perhaps all he needs is a bit of luck and patience.

Argentina never lack attacking talents, and Julian Alvarez could be the latest. The Manchester City striker scored twice on his first league start and once on his first start in the Champions League, and has five goals and two assists so far this season.

With his ability on and off the ball, as well as his tireless running and aggressive defense, 22-year-old Alvarez is expected to get consistent minutes off the bench.

By IANS Updated: Nov 11, 2022 11:30:49 pm
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