The name that stood out the most in Argentina’s starting lineup, which was unveiled ahead of the Qatar World Cup against France, was by far the veteran Angel Di Maria (34, Juventus). This is the most important final stage of this tournament, because it was the first time in the tournament that Di Maria started as a starter.
Di Maria was Argentina’s main striker even in the group stage of this tournament, but after repeated controversy, he was completely pushed out of the main competition after the tournament. He finished only the bench in the round of 16 against Australia and the quarterfinal against Croatia, and in the quarterfinal against the Netherlands, he was barely put on in the 7th minute of extra time. This was the reason Di Maria’s selection for the final was somewhat unexpected.
As a result, coach Lionel Scaloni (44, Argentina), who selected Di Maria as the starting pitcher, worked well. Di Maria led a penalty kick and scored an extra goal in the 2022 FIFA (International Football Federation) Qatar World Cup final against France held at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar at 0:00 am (Korean time) on the 19th.
Di Maria, who started as a left-sided striker in the 4-3-3 format, showed nimble movements from the beginning. And in the 21st minute of the first half, while digging into the left side of the penalty box, he tripped over Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona) and induced a penalty kick. This penalty kick led to Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)’s opening goal.
It didn’t stop at the penalty kick induction. Di Maria even shook the net in the 36th minute of the first half. In a counterattack situation, he dug into the opponent’s camp with explosive speed and finished Alexis McAllister’s (Brighton & Hove Albion) pass with a left-footed shot. In fact, it was also the goal that Argentina completely secured the victory in the final. 토토사이트
Di Maria, who was roaring right after scoring the goal, ended up in tears. He hadn’t reached the top yet, and it was an unexpected timing for tears in that the match was less than halfway through. It must have meant that he scored a goal in the World Cup final, but he seemed unable to control his emotions at the fact that he had shaken off the suffering that must have been severe while being engulfed in controversy over his sluggish performance throughout this tournament.
After shedding hot tears, Di Maria struggled to control her emotions and repeatedly harassed France’s flank defense as a left-sided striker. In the 14th minute of the second half, he was replaced by defender Marcos Acuña, so no additional attack points came out, but he received a standing ovation from his teammates and Argentine fans who filled the stadium.
Di Maria’s performance seemed to be in vain as Argentina conceded two goals after 35 minutes in the second half. However, after exchanging one more goal each in extra time, he too finally smiled as Argentina won the penalty shootout. On this day, the hidden protagonist who helped Argentina rise to the top of the World Cup after 36 years was definitely Di Maria.