Almost with the same line-up that performed the final against Argentina, France defeated the Netherlands on Friday for the qualification for Eurocop 2024. Thundering 4-0, after 7 minutes they were already celebrating with 2-0. The “almost” because the outstanding Hugo Lloris retired from the national team, now Maignan is in the French goal; Varane and Dembelé were injured and gave way to Konaté and Coman; the only change for technical reasons was Kolo Muani instead of Giroud. Kolo was the rejection that revolutionized the final with Argentina because of his character and deep attacks. Tiger. Eintracht Frankfurt has already said that they will not let him go for less than 100 million euros. France and the Netherlands paid tribute to Argentina to a large extent, because at the World Cup they were in great dominance of both, and especially of France, which they completely nullified in 80 minutes.

Mbappé, who failed to score in both Champions League games against Bayern Munich, made his debut in the captain’s armband with two goals. The environment he has in France is very suitable, almost the opposite of what he suffers in Paris Saint Germain. This once again confirms that, with a team behind him, anyone can shine even if there is a crack. And he is. Messi is the best explanation: when Barcelona was the most tuned orchestra on the planet and Argentina looked disreputable, Leo was shining with his bat and getting bats with the Albiceleste.

A day earlier, Italy lost 2-1 to England in Naples. Azzurra goal (excellent definition), from kid Retegui, from Tigre. Retegui does not speak Italian, he has never traveled to Italy, he is Argentinian, with an Argentinian father and mother, he was born and always lived in Buenos Aires, he trained football in Boca and broke the piñata in Tigre, he was the top scorer in Argentine football. He is powerful, funny, sees the goal. He reminds me of Batistuta when he arrived in Italy, said coach Roberto Mancini. Why did Nazionale take him…? We invited him because we don’t have strikers who score goals, explained Mancini. La Gazzetta dello Sport was harsher: “Our forwards have no technique, they don’t score goals and they don’t finish the goal.” That’s it, they already have one putting it on. Italy called him on Thursday the 17th, he traveled on Sunday, he made his debut and started on Thursday. Retegui holds dual citizenship through his maternal grandfather, Angelo Dimarco.

So far, everything is legal, however, Retegui is a 100% foreign footballer. This issue of nationalization requires reconsideration, there must be a limit. Otherwise, representative football becomes club football. lose the essence. Italy was world champion in 1934 with four Argentines. And four of them have already played in the Argentine team. It was not correct and that is why it was changed. This does not look good to Retegui. He is the best scorer in Argentinian football, Scaloni hasn’t called him yet, but maybe he planned to do it for the new game, in September. He can’t now.

Catalan Félix Sánchez made his debut as Ecuador’s coach in a difficult 3-1 defeat against Australia. It is not dishonorable, this Australia is a rock mentally and physically, it can break many. Two more victories at the World Cup: they defeated Denmark and Tunisia, a surprising candidate for many. Before leaving, he gave Argentina a monumental scare in a duel that was 4-0 for Scaloni’s pullets, but Diba Martínez made the save in the end. It’s a brave team with a brave coach (Graham Arnold). So far so good. However, Ecuador’s decline was ugly and it was not easy for Félix Sánchez: he took a team at World Cup level, everyone knows he has excellent players, and Gustavo Alfaro set the bar high for him. Alfaro may not be the bravest driver, but he put together a team from scratch, with no rehearsal time, got the classification, discovered the players, and a few individuals stood out. They stood out for the same thing we say about Mbappé and Messi: there was a group that surrounded them well, an operation. They gave Sánchez a very good car, I hope it doesn’t crash.

Ecuador has the same drama as Italy and Colombia: lack of space forward, with a goal. If Enner Valencia is missing, the night is coming. The one with the two best scorers is Venezuela, and they made a coup: they beat Saudi Arabia (the only conqueror of the world champion). Two to one, with goals from Salomón Rondón (40 goals in the Vinotint shirt) and Josef Martínez (13 in the national team).

Speaking of Australia… In Peru, they almost declared the playoffs won before they even took place. And there was also criticism of Gareca when he was left out. It is now clear that this 0:0 draw was deserved. After that, penalties are taken by the players.

Argentina, which earned 52 million dollars by winning the World Cup, added another 3,700,000 from the coffers for the match-festival against Panama. One million and two hundred thousand people applied for tickets in an endless digital queue (they were only sold online). Eighty-three thousand lucky people got a ticket and flooded the River Stadium to greet the champions. Messi, by far the figurehead, scored his 800th official goal with a brilliant free-kick. Panama was more than it seemed and played hard, but Argentina was Scaloni’s Argentina, a dominant, attacking team, sure of itself.

Yesterday, in an act of historic reparation, Julia Grondona’s name was removed from the AFA sports complex and replaced with Lionel Messi’s name. The presidents and captains of the first division Argentine football clubs were present. He blew politely. (OR)