eA new trophy for the star impressed by his teammates and fans alike: Lionel Messi was delighted after Argentina’s deserved victory over Italy 3-0 at “Finalissima”. “It was a great final full of Argentines,” the 35-year-old said after the South American champions’ clear victory over the European champions at Wembley Stadium in London. “What we experienced here was wonderful.” Almost half a year before the World Cup in Qatar, the captain of the Albiceleste national team was self-confident: “We will face everyone,” he said.
Messi holding in his hand
Messi and Co. dominated the stadium, while the Argentine fans clearly outnumbered the 87,112 spectators in the stands. “We knew it was going to be a beautiful match and a great environment,” said the professional footballer. The fans enthusiastically cheered for their team, and when Messi was on the ball, the volume rose dramatically.
It looked as if the multiplayer world footballer wanted to show after his meager first season with French series champion Paris Saint-Germain what he still could do. Almost every attack goes through the director. He scored two goals, but failed to score one of his goals. Once he failed to get past fellow club Gianluigi Donnarumma against Italy, he shot from an acute angle next to the empty goal.
Lautaro Martinez (28th place), Angel Di Maria (45th + 2nd place) and Paulo Dybala (90th + 4), who came on as a substitute, achieved the win that could have been better. However, the focus of the prolific celebration was the captain. At first Messi raised the new trophy, then his teammates threw their star in the air. The Argentines are now defensive champions: in 1993, they won the last edition of the Intercontinental Final at home in Mar del Plata 5-4 on penalties against Denmark. The White and Blue team last played at Wembley in 2000.
Until a year ago it was the Italians’ last appearance at the English National Stadium. They defeated England 3-2 on penalties in the European Championship final. But things haven’t gone so well for the Azuri family since then. Coach Roberto Mancini showed that he is a fair loser.
“I think they played better than us,” he congratulated the Argentines. Mancini pointed to a mistake made by Federico Bernardeschi before scoring the first goal and a yellow card for defender Leonardo Bonucci. After that, the cute partner of the defender icon Giorgio Chiellini was no longer able to fight duels as usual. “That’s why he didn’t attack as usual to achieve the second goal.” After that, the Argentines were in control. “They played very well.”
The loss in Chiellini’s 117th and last international match also frustrated the Italians’ chance to make up for their embarrassing World Cup qualifying matches. The Azzurri are not present in the Qatar World Cup, so a new version of “Finalissima” was excluded.