Argentina is eyeing the World Cup in Qatar to end its 36-year title reign led by Lionel Messi. Before that, the Albiceleste camp prepared by beating the United Arab Emirates by a big margin.
Lionel Scaloni’s side cruised to a 5-0 win over the hosts at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday (November 16). Angel Di Maria scored two goals for the team. Lionel Messi, Julián Alvarez and Joaquin Correa scored one goal each.
Argentina last lifted the trophy at the FIFA World Cup in 1986. After that last, Maradona, no one else could put a smile on Albiceleste’s face in the last three eras. In 2014, Lionel Messi came so close to the dream but the fans were heartbroken by the nightmare of Mario Gotze. Argentina had a more disappointing performance at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. However, the Albiceleste is dreaming once more about the team that won 35 consecutive matches, won the Copa America and Italy in the Finals after beating Brazil.
Before entering the World Cup battle in Qatar, Argentina, which is plowing America and Europe, tested itself once again in the United Arab Emirates, another country in the Middle East. Where the football world saw Argentina flying. They did not care about the hosts. Possessing the ball 60 percent of the time, they were successful in 5 of their 15 shots on goal.
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Scaloni’s men took a while to find the back of the net at the start of the first half, though. Julian Alvarez broke the deadlock and gave the team the first goal in the 17th minute of the match. Messi passed the ball to Alvarez, who attacked on the left side and ran towards the D-box. Alvarez dodged the defenders of the Emirates and beat the goalkeeper to put the ball in the net.
The second goal also came in just 8 minutes after breaking through the Arab defence. Marcos Acuña’s cross from the right flank was controlled by Angel Di Maria with a stunning shot into the net. After conceding two goals, the hosts lost their rhythm. They look at each other and forget the fight.
They spend most of their time dealing with Messi-Di Maria’s one-on-one attacks. In the 36th minute, De Maria took possession of Alexis Mak Alista’s pass in the D-box, avoiding the eyes of the opponent’s defenders and scoring a one-on-one position with the goalkeeper.
Messi found the net just before the break. He took control of Di Maria’s pass from outside the D-box and beat the Emirates goalkeeper with a Konakuni shot.
After the break Scaloni changed several footballers. This match is to test the students before the World Cup in Qatar. Therefore, the Argentine coach is not willing to take too many risks. Di Maria, Nicolas Otamendi, Mack Allister and Marcos Acuña were replaced by Nahuel Molina, Jermaine Petsya, Joaquin Correa and Gonzalo Montiel. After 5 minutes, Scaloni replaced Alvarez with Enzo Fernandez.
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Joaquin Correa gave the team the fifth goal after coming off the bench. He was assisted by Rodrigo de Paul. The United Arab Emirates squandered a golden opportunity to score in the 69th minute. Despite receiving the ball near the post, the forwards of the host team did not try to step towards the goal. In the 81st minute, the Emirates forwards could not get the ball into the net despite trying twice near the post. Ali Saleh failed to beat Lautaro Martinez in a one-on-one position at the first attempt.
The Brazilian-born Saiyo increased the return ball without trying to take a shot. But his shot was also turned away by the defenders of Argentina. In the end, Argentina gave a slightly faded performance. On the other hand, the Emirates footballers could not give a single goal to the home fans despite getting multiple chances. In the end, Argentina finished the preparation for the World Cup with a big 5-0 victory.