HAVANA TIMES — Argentina and Germany met at the World Cup final for the second time in 24 years and the outcome was the same: Germany came out victorious thanks to another heartbreaking goal. It may be too early to affirm that the Teutons have become the nemesis of the gauchos, or perhaps not. The South American nation’s most recent victory over the Mannstchaft took place in 1986.
In any event, Argentina’s team exceeded all predictions, reaching the final thanks to its unexpectedly rigorous defense, something which made up for the shortcomings of the forwards (made up of such renowned figures as Higuain, Messi, Di Maria and Aguero).
Once again, we bore witness to the lack of leadership of the player that most experts – and aficionados – consider the best in the world. Is it true? In my opinion, he lacks an extremely important element: character, the ability to remain afloat in the most difficult moments, as his predecessor in the selection, the talented Maradona, did.
After the Portuguese – a team I’ve been following since the days of the legendary Luis Figo – had been eliminated at the Cup, I focused my attention on Argentina’s performance. Even though I admire the German team a lot, there is something in me that always makes me want to root for those from your stomping grounds (or continent, as the case may be).
I confess I had hoped Messi would show us at least one of his brilliant moves, the kind we see every day at the Barcelona Football Club…but I was let down.
I hope no one will now dare mention his name when people begin to debate about who is the best soccer player in history. It’s not that I feel resentment, quite the opposite. That said, Messi is still young, he may have one or two more chances with the team and the opportunity to redeem himself.
Once again, soccer has taught us three things: it is a team effort and, as such, stars only help if the team works with them; leading a team requires heart, and the coach contributes to the results to a significant degree (Sabella is to be congratulated for his contribution).
I want to congratulate Germany for its competence, seriousness and consistency, and for having exactly what Leonel Messi does not yet have: the mentality of champions.