Although the final against France drew all eyes and tension, one of the toughest matches Argentina faced at the World Cup was against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals. Prior to this engagement, Rodrigo DePaul He had to make a serious decision because he was suffering from muscle discomfort that put him in doubt. At the same time, certain statements by Louis van Gaal were not taken well by the Albiceleste squad, who took the opportunity to ignite Lionel Messi in concentration. The Argentina midfielder spoke about these issues and explained why he thinks this national team was the most remarkable ever so far.
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The book by sports journalists Alejandro Wall and Gastón Edul traces all the intimacies and behind the scenes of the last World Cup, from the now legendary “go ahead, fool” from Messi to Wout Weghorst to the leaks on the alleged injury of De Paul ahead of the quarter-finals.
“We don’t bother Leo so much with the ‘go on, fool’ because he doesn’t like to see himself like that. We told you, there are stickers in the WhatsApp group. We didn’t know what Topo Gigio was going to do and that, we didn’t know anything. We spiced it up to make him angry, because you saw that when he gets angry…”, was the confession of TyC Sports De Paul, who recounted what the hours leading up to the duel against the Dutch were like. “In the morning we went to drink with friends and in the group we already understand each other. ‘Che, boludo, did you see what he said coso? (by van Gaal). How are you going to say that, Leo? He says nothing, drinks mate and is on the phone. He doesn’t show you anger or fever. That’s why later he surprised us and we realized something had hit him.”revealed.
Even though the number 7 had already given some details on how he was managing his injury before the quarter-finals, he went further: “The hardest part was dealing with the uncertainty of taking risks and knowing that I could miss the other two games (if we passed). These are 48 hours in which you are or you are not. Every minute, every hour was important. I had trouble sleeping those days. They asked me how I was and I said fine, but I drew her with the pain I felt.
Fitness trainer Luis Martín tested him with GPS to see if he was 100 per cent and the Atlético Madrid midfielder said he had to take it slow so as not to aggravate the injury: “The first times, I sped up with fear. The doctor told me there was an 80% chance that I would crack and miss the World Cup. He recommended that I rest and that in 5 or 6 days I would be better. But I didn’t know if there would be another game and if in four years they were going to call me back for a World Cup. It was maybe my last game in the World Cup”.
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Lionel Scaloni gave him the freedom to choose whether to play or not and De Paul decided to do so, fearing he would have to ask for a change after 10 minutes and ‘unhook’ him. Later, he spoke of the seal that the coach gave to this national team that went down in history: “He did practically everything from the goals. 19 out of 26 of us played our first World Cup, almost all of us learned how to put on the national team shirt, with the help of the captain (Messi) and those with experience. He trained us in every way. And most importantly, it generated camaraderie, generated such a harmonious bond where ego so often prevails and is greatly magnified. Everyone understood what piece they were in this puzzle.
One of De Paul’s most resonant phrases was: “Forgive me, everyone, but we ended up being the best team in our country. I’m not saying this out of ego. I believe that the Argentine national team has often had better players than those of us who make up this national team. As a team, we have beaten all the current champions. To America, Europe and the world. We made a qualifier without losing, we won in Bolivia after many years, we won in Peru after how many years, we broke the national team match record. It seems to me that as a team this national team has achieved extremely important things and, without it being secondary, with the link with the public”.
THOSE BEFORE AND DURING THE WORLD CUP
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The Cordoba was one of the most applauded, despite its night with ups and downs. “When things were going well we continued with the same commitment, now that they are going badly we have to continue together,” Facu asked.
“The way we got to the World Cup gives you fear, responsibility, pressure. The message was let’s take it easy, the idea was to be in the top four on the final day and anything can happen there. But behind the scenes we knew we could be a champion. Once we were eating here in September and Tini’s brother brought me a figurine of mine. I wrote to him, but in the form of a joke saying that we were going to be world champions. They offered to buy it from me, he told me, he sells it and I will fuck it up with sticks”
· “After Arabia, in one of the many mate tours we do with the dwarf, with Leo and there I had a little notebook that I signed to him saying the same thing. I signed it on one of the last sheets and held back and told him after the knockout stages. And it was hot, I didn’t want to know. I forgot to take it with me. When we came back, I didn’t even remember”
OTHER PHRASES BY RODRIGO DE PAUL
“I’m still not used to being called ‘world champion’ and I hope I never get used to it, so I keep surprising myself”
· “We had been in the country for such a short time and the euphoria was so great that we weren’t done having fun, growing in size and feeling all the affection. I really want it to be the March date”
· “With I try to speak little because if we had lost the final, to date it would have been difficult for me to enter the locker room. It’s ugly to put your finger in a wound”
‘Taking the game against Mexico we were vastly superior to all our rivals’
· “I still have the thorn to have been able to win the match 2-0 because it was totally meritorious, we were superior. But for the public and the World Cups, it was amazing because it had all the seasonings. To the two best players today, who have scored two and three goals each”
· “For a team to make two changes in the first 30 minutes of a world final does not exist, something was happening there. But it was like we knew it wasn’t going to end like this, the time to suffer had to come. Suddenly, 10 minutes from the end, everything fell apart and all we enjoyed was endless suffering. Everything was very epic and the mental strength like that of Montiel to take a penalty at 117 ‘and 10 minutes later you are the top of the world which makes you champion. Starting from these extremes does not exist. The supporter is also a different game”
· “I didn’t see Dibu stop at the end. I went out in the second overtime, I had loaded my back leg again. I was sitting on the ice, I have Fide on my right, Ángel was crying a little and he passed that feeling on to me but I don’t know why since the match was still being played. When the ball is too much for Ota people start to stop, Fideo stops in front of me and I see when the ball comes back and Lautaro almost scores a goal”
NEWS IN DEVELOPMENT…
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.
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