In this regard, perhaps Cuti Romero and Leandro Paredes are the most committed. When the game against Saudi Arabia arrived, the Tottenham defender had been without competition for almost a month and the Juventus midfielder had barely two games in a similar period. In fact, they were the two of the first three footballers that the coach removed from the field after the second goal from the Saudis.
Here another tricky issue arises: Are they all at the top of their physical capabilities? If Cuti Romero or Paredes are lacking in rhythm and those places have very good replacements in Lisandro Martinez and Enzo Fernandez (whom Scaloni always used as a central midfielder), is it worth risking in an extreme match like Saturday’s?
Both Cuti and Leandro are heroes of the Maracana and that weighs heavily on the DT’s head. They are key footballers in the structure that Scaloni has been building over the years. Paredes is a flagship player of the coach’s ideology, if we subscribe to the concept that “5 is the one that sets the style of the team”. This axiom is fulfilled in the Argentine National Team in all its dimension. But against Saudi Arabia, Paredes was seen with little rhythm, as he was coping with uncomfortable situations with great effort. De Paul’s Bad Afternoon and the strategic trap of the Saudis that left Messi without potential receivers, did the rest. I understand that it is very difficult for the coach to play a piece like this, but the levels of Enzo Fernandez Y Alexis MacAllister They make the risk that Scaloni is apparently willing to take useless.
Cuti Romero is a different case. It was a brilliant appearance in the Argentine team. He stood out so much that Tottenham ran to look for him at Atalanta and took him away. But the different case has to do with a certain propensity for muscle injuries. Some highly competent doctors say that these injuries occur because of the way he plays, always on the limit, always tense. In fact, in the 363 days leading up to the competition, Cuti wasn’t optimal for playing in 128, nearly 35 percent of the time. Its alot. And if we remember more, we will find that, in the Copa América that Argentina won in 2021, Romero was in the first game and just played again, undercover, in the final.
Cuti is a decisive footballer in the ideal team that Scaloni has permanently in his head. But if he is not in rhythm, and, above all, if the first substitute defenderLisandro Martinez, is having a great season at Manchester United, he is left-footed, he delivers a clear start, he knows how to score, he is strong, he has technique… The same question as with Paredes is valid: if there are quality relays, if for a World Cup a meticulously studied list is made, Why take a risk with a footballer who is not with his full potential?
They are all questions, musings, reflections to kill time, anguish and soccer anxiety that an extreme situation causes us at a height of the tournament that we did not expect. The Argentine squad is rich in possibilities and characteristics, as one can see. And those possibilities and characteristics, said this with great respect, are above those of Mexico. But in soccer, this only has value in previous calculations. Argentina must recover mental strength, which it did not have when it found itself 1-2 in the result. Everyone’s papers were burned, they were filled with old doubts and lost lucidity. This is the subject in which Argentina failed and from which it is most difficult to return.
The moment of truth is coming. Obviously, Scaloni has his dilemmas and will resolve them to the best of his knowledge and understanding.
The soccer country is full of anxiety and doubts and that includes us, even though we have this outlet for writing and analysis. Nothing prevents us from waiting for the match against Mexico as if it were the last of our lives. Tomorrow, more or less at 6:00 p.m. (Argentine time) the country will shout its relief or cry its frustration.
In all cases, soccer Argentina will be the same as always: all or nothing. And that’s how this game against Mexico is: either we go for the dream or a huge disappointment will fill us with reconsiderations.