Argentina the current Copa America and Finalissima champions are on an unbeaten run can it streak to glory or become a curse? They have extended that run which started in July in 2019 when they beat the defending champions Chile in the Copa America to 36 matches and needing just one unbeaten game to equal the world record, within that run the Albiceleste finally landing their regional title, Messi`
s first senior title. such streak usually have two consequences a sweet or painful end. The Italians are the most recent example of such circumstance. a curse when they failed to qualify for the world cup losing to North Macedonia, a combination of a slump and misfortune which started in losing two successive penalties in both matches against Switzerland, it would have given them enough points and direct qualification thus, avoiding the play offs in the first place.it seems that the winning streak had its strong negative effects although it was the Spanish that ended their unbeaten run at the European nations league semi finals but the world cup exit to European minnows in Palermo led experts to conclude that the decline of Italian football was a reality, they also had their glorious moments winning the European Championship with their confidence at its peak with an exciting and efficient style taking them past Belgium the number one ranked team and winning two penalty shoot out in succession which is rare against the Spanish in the semi finals and the host, the English in the finals, the penalty milestone was an achievement with Germany as the only nation most likely to reach such feat because of their outstanding record, unbeaten in penalties since 1976 when Antonin Panenka famously scored the winning penalty against them and created a patent-Panenka. The South Americans have been impressive with the victory over host Brazil the defending champions in the finals of the Copa America their second win over them within that stretch and twentieth match without defeat, it was the highlight of their run, the streak continued when twelve matches later they defeated the current unbeaten record holder and European Champions in the inter continental finals breaking their national record of thirty one matches unbeaten set in august 1993 which was also an international record, if they can avoid defeat against Saudi Arabia in their opening match at the world cup they will equal the Italians and if they remain undefeated in the group stage they will surpass the Azzurris and create a new world record but any defeat afterwards will lead to exit at the world cup. A defeat may not be as ignominious as that of the Italians but will certainly leave a sting, an after effect from mistakes that look elementary but still inexplicably happens leading to disaster, like a curse, which can be avoided if such expectations do not build up, most important tournament winners do not have such streaks to burden them. usually defeat is the best teacher if the pain can be set aside and the lessons processed critically. it helps a team or individual to improve by understanding and correcting mistakes and also, to create a resistance to defeat, it is best when such happens at less important encounters. most great winners don't suffer defeat in tournaments. Therein lies this double edged sword that can stimulate success or end in shame.
The other unbeaten streaks
Closely behind the Italians are Argentina with 36 matches then Brazil, Spain and Algeria with 35 matches. The Argentines are the only team that has an active streak. The desert warriors of Algeria`s streak were not recognized by FIFA. for Brazil their run started in December 1993 and was ended by Mexico in the CONCACAF gold cup finals in 1996 although they fielded their U23 team nevertheless that defeat ended the world champions reign as record holders. they had won 28 matches and drawn 7, winning their fourth world cup in the United States in 1994 within that streak. The Spanish equaled the record between 2007-2009 and won the 2008 European championship, theirs had 32 victories and three draws but lost at a crucial time surprisingly to the United States in the semi finals of the defunct confederations cup, it was a disappointment but helpful, they regrouped and went on to win their first world cup in 2010, the first European nation to win the world cup in another continent and the First to retain the European Championship in 2012.
Argentina has prospects
Scaloni`s Argentina will have to create a balance that will enable them evolve and win at the world cup and possibly hope that if defeat will come, then before the knockout stages to enable them retain chances of qualification or not at all. they can also learn lessons from the great Spanish side that lost their first world cup match to Switzerland and from their first world cup win when they lost to Italy in the group stages but went on to win the tournament. they are in a delicate situation but have been able to create a team that is playing to its strengths and also to Messi`s, The Albiceleste are renowned for their talent and entertaining style of play but the coach has added team unity and flexibility with a restrictive system of possession football that enables them to be compact and difficult to break down but also making opponents disorganized when trying to mark them, this creates gaps when they transit from their half and gives their creative players more leverage to unleash Messi and their other forwards, they can also use the modern high press to great effect and are very capable of grinding out results for experience, their two quarter final exits and final loss to Germany and second round loss to France in their last four world cup tournaments will come in handy, another factor in their favor, the world cup will be hosted in a neutral continent without a strong trend in victory where the only winner in Asia is Brazil and the European world Champions dismal title defense for the past twenty years which has neutralized the European edge of the champions. this gives South America an advantage. Argentina have the team to overcome Germany, France, Brazil and the rest of them, this is an opportunity to translate their unbeaten streak into Glory!
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