Sat | Nov 26, 2022

‘They made a mistake’

Jamaica-based Argentinian says overconfidence, media pressure forced loss

Published:Friday | November 25, 2022 | 12:06 AMAsha Wilks/Gleaner Writer
Gonzalo Tuñon
Gonzalo Tuñon
Argentina’s Lionel Messi reacts after missing a chance during the World Cup Group C  match against Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, on  Tuesday, November 22.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi reacts after missing a chance during the World Cup Group C match against Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, on Tuesday, November 22.
Saudi Arabia’s Salem Al-Dawsari celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the World Cup Group C  match against Argentina at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia’s Salem Al-Dawsari celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the World Cup Group C match against Argentina at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail on Tuesday.
1
2
3

Gonzalo Tuñon was among the many Argentina fans and supporters worldwide who were left stunned by the team’s 2-1 loss to underdogs Saudia Arabia on Tuesday in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

After all, the importance of winning at footabll is so much a part of the Argentinian culture that it is ingrained in the minds of very young boys. As they grow older, they watch the various tournaments they hope to compete in as a matter of life or death, says the Argentinian.

Once they hit the professional level, they are trained not to lose.

He added that he was among the thousands of young boys who played football informally and at the community level.

“In Argentina, football is like everywhere, and from we start walking we start playing football; and then we follow football every time and everywhere,” he explained.

For Tuñon, who moved from Argentina some six months ago and now lives in Jamaica, Tuesday’s result was very hard to take. He conceded, however, that no team should be underestimated as the coaches are very good.

According to reports from Al Jazeera, more than 5,000 die-hard Argentina supporters attended the team’s opening match on Tuesday, hoping to see their team win and improve their prospects of advancing in the tournament to take home the cup.

Just as the many people who anticipated and, in some cases, predicted a victory, Tuñon said that he was hoping to see the South American team come out with a bang.

“It’s in our culture, so we really, really care about the World Cup,” the ardent football fan expressed.

Most memorable

Argentina has won the World Cup twice, in 1978 and 1986. With the legendary Lionel Messi announcing this year’s tournament, dubbed ‘the greatest show on Earth’, to be his last, Argentina is aiming to make this year’s staging the most memorable one.

Tuñon says Argentinians’ expectations are always very high for every World Cup, but that this time around there was added pressure placed on the players.

“When we got to the World Cup in Qatar, we were overconfident, too confident...and then on top of that the pressure from the media and from people. I think that got into the head of the players,” he reasoned.

He implores supporters to keep an eye on the entire group, as well as other talented players, like midfielders Angel Di Maria, Rodrigo De Paul, and forward Paulo Dybala, as the team could not rely entirely on Lionel Messi, noting that Argentina was not a one-man show, and that Messi alone could not propel the team.

“I understand that we are humans. I mean, these guys are very competitive, they want to win...[so although] they made a mistake, they will go there on Saturday and we will win the game,” he said.

“They will definitely win the game or they will die, because that’s their life,” he added, noting that going into the matchup against Mexico, he is expecting a 3-1 win for Argentina on Saturday at 2 p.m. EST (7 p.m. GMT).

asha.wilks@gleanerjm.com