World Cup 2018: The Emotions of an Argentina Supporter
The FIFA World Cup, the greatest tournament in sports history is a treat for every football fan around the world. Even non-football fans enjoy watching the Football World Cup.
When it comes to the fans, some support their country & some support a team with their favourite player. The best examples of the latter are Argentina (Lionel Messi), Portugal (Cristiano Ronaldo) & Brazil (Neymar).
But for Argentinian fans, it has been a roller coaster of emotions so far.
From being in a position to not qualify for the World Cup, to qualifying for the knock-out stages in the World Cup, it has been a dramatic journey for the Argentina supporters.
Argentina reached the finals of the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil with Lionel Messi winning the Golden Ball for being the best player of the tournament. Also, his excellent form in the recent games set very high hopes among the Argentina supporters.
Argentina's Road to the World Cup
With ten teams including big names like Brazil & Uruguay competing in the South American qualifiers, Argentina was expected to qualify with ease. But rotations in the starting line-ups & the lack of performance of the players when compared to the performance for their respective clubs put Argentina in a tough spot.
It came as a shock to many fans as Argentina lost their first game to Ecuador and drew the next 2 games. But they won their next 4 games against Colombia, Chile, Bolivia and Uruguay giving them 12 precious points. And for the next few games, it was a bumpy ride for Argentina who gained only 7 points from a possible 15. It seemed like Argentina were making it difficult for themselves with a poor display which was least expected of them.
The real scare for the Argentina fans came later on in the qualifiers as Argentina failed to win any of their next 4 matches. This put Argentina was in a very critical position on the points table and on the brink of elimination.
With only one match remaining, it was a must-win game for Argentina which would still not guarantee their qualification as it also depended on the results of Colombia, Chile, Peru & Paraguay matches as they too were battling it out for Qualification.
Argentina were up against Ecuador in their last qualifying game.
Argentina supporters were devastated when Ecuador scored in the very first minute of the game. But Messi had other plans. He stepped up when his team needed him the most and showed the world why he is one of the best by scoring a hat-trick. Argentina won the game 3-1 & also qualified for the world cup as Peru drew against Colombia, with Chile n Paraguay both losing their respective games.
With a huge sigh of relief, the Argentina supporters were in fine voice as their team made it to the world cup after a struggle in the qualifiers.
FIFA World Cup 2018
It was a similar story in the World Cup for Argentina. A disappointing start for Argentina which saw them being held to a 1-1 draw by Iceland with Messi missing a crucial penalty. It was followed by a 3-0 humiliation at the hands of Croatia which left the fans devastated. It was the South American nation’s biggest defeat in the group stages of the World Cup since 1958, when they lost 1-6 to Czechoslovakia. The loss left Argentine fans outraged and many were seen spitting towards the field after the match against the Croatians ended. Many had tears in their eyes.
Argentina faced a must-win clash against Nigeria in the final group stage game. Also, Iceland had to lose against Croatia for a favourable outcome. It wasn't easy, but not impossible. The fans still believed in the team. A huge number of fans turned up to show their support at the St Petersburg Stadium. Footballing legend Diego Maradona was also seen in the stands cheering for the team
Once again it was Lionel Messi who scored the opener for Argentina with a great control over the ball & a good finish. But Nigeria scored from the spot to make it 1-1. Iceland was level with Croatia in the other match which made Argentina supporters even more frustrated.
Facing an ignominious early exit from the world cup, with only a few minutes left in the final group stage match, Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo netted the winner for Argentina in the 86th minute & with Croatia beating Iceland, it confirmed a spot for Argentina in the last 16.
The moment of joy had finally come for the Argentina fans after a nail-biting encounter. It was a night to savour for the fans as they sneaked into the knock-out stages of the World Cup. Fans all over the world celebrated this great escape. Legend & one of Argentina's biggest fan, Diego Maradona was seen celebrating wildly in the stands.
Argentina will now face France in the knock-out stage on Saturday. The fans will surely want the players of Argentina to deliver in order to progress further in the tournament. All eyes will be on Lionel Messi as he could be the difference maker. His exceptional ball control, dribbling and finishing skills which make him one of the best in the world. Everybody knows that he can change the game in the blink of an eye. As he has already produced moments of magic for his country when needed most.
Messi did it in the final Qualifying match against Ecuador & helped Argentina qualify for the World Cup. He did it again with an amazing goal against Nigeria which played an important role as Argentina qualified for the knock-outs. It would be fair to expect a great show from the little magician who makes this FIFA World Cup much more entertaining.