In just two years, three coaches passed and the Selection was classified with anguish at the height of Quito.
The Argentine National Team faces a new South American Qualification with a view to the Qatar 2022 World Cup, with the challenge of leaving behind the traumatic and unprecedented path that it traveled in its previous stop in this history, with Russia 2018 as its objective: three coaches, 45 players called up and a harrowing classification in the height of Quito, with the three goals of Lionel Messi after having started down 1-0 before the minute.
However, those 18 games should not be limited to the two years that the qualifying stage lasted. We must go back to 2014, the year of the world runner-up, with Julio Grondona, the eternal president of the AFA, still alive. Don Julio had two names to replace Alejandro Sabella if the results were not good.
In Brazil and in full progress towards the final, things changed. Grondona was convinced that Sabella must continue. The coach, on the other hand, doubted. He did not have the same energies.
The final no came after a long telephone conversation between the two on Thursday, July 24.
“I spoke to Sabella, but what she said I keep to myself. If a girlfriend doesn’t love you, you can’t convince her“, said Don Julio on Tuesday 29. Afterwards, Pachorra He would go through difficult times in his health, as was public knowledge.
Faced with a possible negative response, Grondona had already activated plan B. On the one hand, to resume conversations with Gerardo Martino. On the other hand, have Miguel Angel Russo’s yes ready before an eventual refusal of the Tata. But that Tuesday, with so many meetings, talks and decision-making, it was too much for that 82-year-old man, who after suffering a heart condition died on the morning of July 30.
the vice president Luis Segura it was the first link in the post-Grondona transition. And Martino, the one chosen to face the project towards Russia. Along the way, he reached two Copa América finals, both lost to Chile on penalties.
The next objective was the Rio Olympics. But Martino was upset with many things that happened in the new AFA from 38 to 38 (December 2015). Pushed by the refusal of many clubs to give him players for the Olympic competition, he resigned on June 7.
The Qualifying for Russia 2018 had already started and, after six games, Argentina had 3 wins, two draws and one loss. The only fall had been in the debut against Ecuador (0-2), on October 8 like this Thursday at Bombonera, but four years ago at Monumental. With 11 points, the selected one was in the third position, behind Uruguay and Ecuador.
FIFA appointed a Standardizing Committee headed by Armando Pérez, former president of Belgrano, on July 18, 2016. After evaluating the candidates and the cash available to take on new contracts, and discarding Diego Simeone and Jorge Sampaoli, the chosen one was Edgardo Bauza.
He Paton he did not complete a year in office. He only directed the 8 matches of the Eliminatory, of which he won 3, tied 2 and lost 3, the last in Bolivia by 2 to 0. Beyond the results and fifth place in the standings, the game proposed by the coach did not convince.
The day after the defeat in La Paz, March 29, 2017, Claudio Tapia was elected the new president of the AFA. One of the first measures was the change of technician. Thus, for the first time, the Argentine team would have three coaches in a knockout stage from France 98, when the new system began. Since the 1960s there was not so much mess and disorganization.
The bet was for Jorge Sampaoli. There were 4 qualifying dates to go and just one year for Russia. There was optimism, so much so that the goal was Qatar 2022 and that is why the contract was signed until December 2022.
The final route was pure uncertainty: 0-0 with Uruguay in Montevideo, 1-1 with Venezuela in River and 0-0 with Peru in Bombonera (the day that Fernando Gago was injured again). At a final date, Argentina was in sixth place, outside even the possibility of a Repechage.
The Selection was at the height of Quito for the classification. At 39 seconds, he was already losing. Later, the Argentine genius appeared in triplicate. “Without Messi on the night of Quito, the miracle of putting the national team on their feet would not have happened”, Was read as a summary in the coverage of Clarion the day after.
Finally, Argentina was third after 18 games, with 7 wins, 7 draws and 4 losses, just 19 goals for and 16 against, three coaches and 45 players mentioned. Ángel Di María and Sergio Romero, the only ones who were in all the matches, are not at the start of a new Eliminatory. Instead, Messi remains the ace of spades of Argentine soccer.