DOHA ( Associated Press) — If Lionel Messi’s dominance is Argentina’s trademark at the World Cup, so is his defensive vulnerability during matches.
In the last two engagements of the decisive instance which he won comfortably, he ended up piling up in his field and causing a very costly distraction. This happened with Australia in a 2–1 victory in the round of 16 and was repeated with the Netherlands before a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals. He had taken a two-goal lead in both the matches.
“It’s hard to explain because what usually happens in elimination matches is that in the last minutes if you’re at a disadvantage you’re going to find everything and put the ball inside the zone to tie it up. Working on it Also not easy”, analyzed winger Nicolas Tagliafico at the press conference ahead of the semi-final against Croatia on Monday.
The Lyon player, who is emerging as a starter for the suspended Marcos Acuña, warned that “you have to be prepared and maybe find a way so that if it happens, there are not so many opportunities or there is no way to counteract it.” find a way”.
In the Round of 16, an own goal by Enzo Fernandez gave Australia the courage to seek an equalizer and goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez became a figurehead, miraculously firing a direct shot at Garang Kuol’s goal in the final game. Rescued.
In the next game, the Netherlands came from two goals late and forced extra time for a free kick called for a child foul by the Argentine defenders. In the first, 2 meters ahead, Wat Weghorst guessed his marker and scored with a header. Weghorst himself would make it 2–2 after a set piece in the last minute of extra time.
Consulted in this regard, coach Lionel Scaloni attributed part of the problem to FIFA’s order to the referees to add more playing time.
“It is new to give, eight, ten, twelve minutes (of extra time). It creates insecurity for the winning team. It creates uncertainty,” the coach also acknowledged on Monday. “It’s a new situation, I don’t know if it’s fair or unfair. It will become natural. You have to work at it.”
The question takes on a special relevance before a future opponent. Croatia, the runners-up in 2018, drew Brazil 1–1 in the quarter-finals with three minutes remaining in extra time.
“The good thing is we’ve already lived it. We’ve already experienced it, so we have to focus on winning games and try to suffer less”, commented Tagliafico.