From our Special Envoy in Doha,
Rarely have we waited so long before seeing the players of a team arrive in the mixed zone, and yet we are used to the Parc des Princes. In Lusail, the wait was worth the detour. On the one hand, the Arab press was delirious, on the other, Argentine journalists were brooding. We even surprised a colleague crying, a priori a little excessive for a defeat in the group stage of the World Cup, in short, everyone will have their opinion on the question. After an hour and a half of counting the minutes nervously chewing gum until the jaw cramped, the losers of the day appeared in single file.
The image is religious, almost funerary. Three-quarters of the Argentinians, all dressed in white, follow the path imposed by the serpentine barrier drawn in the vast room without saying a word. The atmosphere is heavy, no one dares to approach anyone, anyone who knows the mixed zones knows anyway that these men wounded in their flesh have no intention of stopping. “It hurts a lot”, had still had the courage to declare Lautaro Martinez on Argentine television. Lionel Messi, who assumed his responsibilities as captain by stopping for a good five minutes in front of a mountain of journalists thirsty for post-match declaments, made similar comments. “It’s a very hard blow. A last one with Scaloni? “Today is a sad day. »
The unity and solidity of the Argentine group put to the test
We don’t doubt it for a second. In ascending order of importance: by losing to Saudi Arabia, Argentina interrupts its near-record of games without defeat (36, one step behind Italy), inscribes its name in the Hall of Fame of humiliating defeats entrance to the World Cup and is falling behind in the race for qualification in the round of 16 and in first place. This promises a heavy fire from our “gaucho” colleagues and a beautiful insurrectionary atmosphere as in Russia in 2018, with undoubtedly in the middle, a pathetic intervention by the President of the Fed to invite to the sacred union.
It will take at least that to piss off Mexico in the next game – that, and review the offside rule. “Now we just have to get up and win the next two games,” insists Scaloni, who does not want to let this ink stain blacken a table still immaculate a few hours earlier. “We were in good shape, we couldn’t have dreamed of better, that’s the reality. But it’s like that. We were coming off a great winning streak, but we knew it was going to end one day. “It should not leave room for a less cheerful series. Otherwise, Lionel Messi’s last World Cup could come to an end.