In the midst of the collective joy – is there anything more collective in Argentina than the celebrations for a World Cup win? – the excitement of the players, Lionel Scaloni and the coaching staff, the tearful anthem and the songs that reminded the magic of that month in Qatar, could glimpse something of what will come: the future of a Selection that against Panama, despite the fact that it was a friendly-excuse, already began to design its project for the United States, Canada and Mexico 2026.
The generational change that was heralded for after Qatar was put on hold due to the festivities and the logical idea of enjoying this moment. Lionel Messi, Ángel Di María and Nicolás Otamendi are the symbols of that sweet resistance to the passage of time: the Cup injected the desire to continue, at least until the 2024 Copa América, which will be a trial test and a real thermometer, especially since It will be much more competitive than the usual ones (there will be 16 teams, with 10 from Conmebol and 6 from Concacaf).
“I leave the door open, but due to age and time it seems to me that it is difficult, it depends on how my career is going, I will see where my career is headed,” Messi said a few months ago about the possibility of playing in his sixth World Cup. In the squad they know that the possibility exists and that the level in the Copa América can be the determining factor of a hypothetical decision.
But even if Messi, Di María and Otamendi are there, the replacement has already begun. In reality, it started almost unintentionally in Qatar, when the defeat against Saudi Arabia in his debut forced Scaloni to make changes he hadn’t thought of until then. The entry of Enzo Fernández and Julián Álvarez can be identified as a first wave, to which now, in the post-World Cup, a second will come with the confirmation of footballers who traveled to Qatar but had very little participation, such as Thiago Almada or Juan Foyth .
The third wave will be that of young people, some called up for this FIFA date and others in the Scaloni folder. Alejandro Garnacho, who ultimately did not travel due to injury, may be the most brilliant novelty for him at Manchester United, but there are also Tiago Geralnik, Nicolás Paz, the brothers Franco and Valentín Carboni, Facundo Buonanotte, Matías Soulé and Luka Romero . Some, as always happens, will fall by the wayside, will not adapt or simply will not perform in the National Team. Others will be the future Julián and Enzo.
Scaloni has been giving signs that now everything starts from scratch, beyond the fact that joy will last forever, even if bad results come. “Rebuilding means that the players don’t feel like owners of the National Team. The coach is constantly watching, analyzing. The most important thing is that the player who comes feels that it is not a place forever, that there are players behind trying to take his place ”, he assured.
Against Panama, despite the lower level of the rivals, that began to kick in. Yesterday he continued in an informal friendly against River in Ezeiza. And on Tuesday he will continue against Curaçao, possibly with more replacements than Thursday at the Monumental. The future begins to arrive in the midst of joy.
Messi on Instagram: “I have no words”
Lionel Messi, captain of the Argentine team, was moved by what he experienced at the Monumental before and after beating Panama 2-0 and celebrated winning the World Cup.
“Many times I imagined what it could be like to return to my country as a world champion but now I have no words to explain what I feel, how grateful I am to all the people for the love,” he wrote in a post on his Instagram account hours after the most anticipated day.
“These are very, very special days and I can only tell you that I am immensely happy to see all the Argentine people enjoying and celebrating what was another success for everyone.
Thank you!!!”, he signed the post, which had nine photos.
The album of postcards chosen by the player from Rosario opened with a photo of him in front of all his teammates lifting the World Cup, accompanied by his wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, and their three children, Thiago, Mateo and Ciro.
He also included an image speaking in front of the more than 80,000 people who attended the event while he caressed the trophy, another touring the field of play with his family, one haranguing the people and another with Thiago and Mateo, his two eldest sons.
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