Former Argentina full-back has high hopes for his countrymen at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
On 13 July 2014, Argentina played their most recent World Cup Final. Their opponents at the Maracana in Brazil were Germany, who went on to win 1-0 via a Mario Gotze goal with just a few minutes of extra time remaining. Another player on the pitch that day was Pablo Zabaleta, who lined up alongside South American luminaries such as Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Javier Mascherano.
“As an Argentinian, I expect great things from the national team in Qatar,” the former full-back told FIFA+, after featuring in the Match for Peace charity game on 14 November at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
“The squad is going through a good period and is playing great football. I hope Argentina can do well and I’m crossing my fingers they can make the Final and, why not, win the World Cup.”
Brazil 2014: a wonderful experience despite the defeat
Zabaleta, whose club career saw him play for San Lorenzo, Espanyol, Manchester City and West Ham, had his only experience of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
“We made the Final that year and lost to Germany. Despite the defeat, I look back on it as a wonderful experience. Only a few players are privileged enough to have reached a World Cup Final.”
Maradona gave people hope and joy
The Match for Peace was also a chance to pay tribute to Diego Maradona nearly a year after his death.
Zabaleta was among those to speak warmly of the Argentinian legend: “Diego means so much to every Argentinian. I was only one year old when he won the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, so we were from different generations, but I remember him at the World Cups in Italy in 1990 and the USA in 1994.
“We are honoured to have had a player like him who gave the people joy and hope.”
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