After four years, Argentina took a goalless victory from Lionel Messi in the World Cup qualifying tournament. Another reason to imagine a change of era?
The Messidependencia He is never unaware of the football discussion around the Argentine National Team. And the game against Bolivia at the height of La Paz left, among many things, a revealing fact: there were no goals from Lionel Messi, something that had not happened since 2016 in a knockout match.
Rosario is the top scorer in the history of the selected team, with 71 screams. It is a custom for Argentines to contribute Leo in almost every encounter. And in the World Cup qualifying stage, since March 24, 2016, he had always scored at least one goal in a team victory.
The first match of 2016, in the preview of Russia 2018, was in Santiago against Chile. That day, which coincided with a new anniversary of the last coup in the country, the national team won 2-1 with goals from Angel Di María and Gabriel Mercado, after also losing 1-0 at the start.
In the first of the two goals, that of Little angel, the assist came from Ever Banega, while Mercado scored after a backward rejection from a defender who was marking Messi. That is, as on Tuesday, there was no assistance from the Barcelona player either.
After that game, in the next six victories there were always goals from Messi. Five days later, on March 29 at the stadium Mario Alberto KempesArgentina defeated Bolivia 2-0, with a first goal from Mercado and then a penalty from Leo.
At the next match, on September 1, 2016, the Rio de la Plata classic was played at Malvinas Argentinas de Mendoza and the National Team won 1-0 with a nice left-handed goal from Rosario from outside the area. Five days later, the visit to Venezuela in Mérida ended in a draw (2-2), but Messi did not play.
Injured, Messi missed the double elimination of October, against Peru in Lima (2-2) and Paraguay (0-1). In November, the first game was played in Belo Horizonte on Thursday 10: Lionel was there and the team that Edgardo Bauza led then lost 3-0. Five days later, at the San Juan Bicentennial Stadium, he rehabilitated against Colombia (3-0) and Messi scored the first of the three after 10 minutes of free kick.
Already in 2017, the first match of the year for Qualifiers was on March 23 against Chile and was a 1-0 victory with a goal from Leo penalty, at 26 minutes. A few days later, he lost to Bolivia in La Paz 2-0, without Messi, in what was the last match of the Bauza era.
Messi was present in the last four qualifying games for Russia, already with Jorge Sampaoli as coach. The first three were draws: 0-0 with Uruguay in Montevideo, 1-1 with Venezuela in Chile and 0-0 with Peru in La Bombonera. Finally, it was 3-1 against Ecuador in Quito, with that hat-trick savior of Leo.
The last victory with goals of the Argentine captain is fresh. It was Thursday the 8th on the Boca court against Ecuador, a penalty, at the start of the game. In the 3,600 meters of Hernando Siles de La Paz, the National Team won without Messi goals. A statistical curiosity, of course, but also a positive point of the so famous renewal claimed around the best in the world.