Being about to go out to play a World Cup match and see the World Champion badge on the shirt must be a wonderful feeling…. “At first I looked at it and it seemed crazy to have that patch on my chest,” Damián Stazzone, one of the Argentine national team leaders, tells FIFA.com, who will be at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2021 to defend the title of 2016.
“Then you naturalize it, because if every time you play you feel that you are a world champion, that you have to win yes or yes, in a moment you cannot take it anymore. You even run the risk of losing concentration on tactical details that are key in this sport” , adds the 36-year-old Argentine defender.
🇦🇷 4 – 2 🇳🇱
We closed the tour with another victory 💪🏼
Now the World Cup is coming, we are very excited and wanting to compete as a team to continue leaving the National Team at the top 🙌🏼
Let’s go Argentina ❤🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/XECbVcjx0S
– Damian Stazzone (@StazzoneDamian) September 7, 2021
“I’m not saying I don’t value it, but I do say that at this level you have to get used to it when you go in to play. If you bring all those emotions to the field, it is impossible to do it well, ”explains Stazzone, about to play his third World Cup.
Also, it is not nostalgic. “At this point, I am used to things happening very quickly in sports. You have to enjoy them, but it is not convenient to be tied to the good or the bad. You have to learn from both things and move on ”.
In this context, it does not hide everything that the patch and the title of champion require for Lithuania. “It is something particular to each one, but I like it. I’d rather play with that responsibility than for something that nobody cares about ”.
And it goes on. “In high-performance sports, the pressure is there, you have to take charge, and everyone takes it in their own way. But when there is a team mentality, if you suffer, you can channel it there. We have a great group, that helps to share it among all ”.
Your Other Responsibilities Stazzone extends your analysis beyond high performance. “With the title, what we always seek was achieved, that futsal has more visibility among the clubs, leaders and the media, that more kids practice it. That is also a nice responsibility ”.
And exemplifies about your particular case. “I started by chance. In Argentina, soccer daddy is very popular, which has other rules, and you can only play it until you are 13. I was lucky that my coach did futsal at San Lorenzo, a club of which I am a fan, and invited me. In time I realized that I wanted to make a living from this, but it was very difficult ”.
His debut with the national team in 2010 opened his eyes. “Those who came from Europe made a difference to me in all aspects. That’s why I decided to go there in 2011, to improve ”, says Stazzone, who recently received a degree in Communication and has taken“ courses oriented to the sports side of management, coach and development ”.
In addition to being champions, Argentina reaches the World Cup as the winner of the South American qualifiers, after beating local Brazil in the final. During his preparatory tour of Europe, he drew with Spain (4-4) and beat Japan (2-1) and Uzbekistan (3-1), all World Cup teams. Thus, it appears among the favorites.
“It is true, but not for being the champions, but for everything done in the last five years. You have to find a balance: neither believe ourselves to be the best, because we need to be power, nor lose the conviction that we can compete with anyone ”.
Other candidates? “Brazil, Russia, Portugal and Spain. And there will be some surprise. In Colombia it was us, and in this it could be Venezuela, or an Asian team like Japan. It will be a tough World Cup ”, he affirms, before warning that it will almost certainly be the last. “You have to give room for replacement.”
Regarding his rivals, Stazzone cuts to the chase. “The United States should be the most accessible, but not easy for that. Then, it is a long time since we played with Serbia and Iran, and because of the pandemic, it is difficult to know what we will be able to find. “
When talking about goals, it is compelling. “It is difficult to say ‘my goal is to be champion’, you put the highest bar, and if you do not arrive you will not have fulfilled. I prefer to be cautious. If we are left out in the eighth or fourth, even depending on how it is done, it will not be what we expect. The minimum objective is to be among the best four ”.
Confirmed World Cup fixture
The National Team is already preparing in Buenos Aires for the World Cup that will be held this year in Lithuania, from September 12 to October 3.
On July 1, the World Cup group draw was held in Zurich and the first rivals of Argentina were defined, whom they will face in the Group Phase:
Before them, the team led by Lucuix will seek the classification to the next phase, in search of renewing the title it has held since Colombia 2016.
This is how the squad of 16 players that will represent Argentina in the 2021 World Cup in Lithuania was left, which begins on September 12.
Archers: Lucas Farach (Kimberley AC); Nicolás Sarmiento (Real Betis Futsal -Spain-) and Guido Monsenson (Boca Juniors)
Last / Closings: Damian Stazzone (San Lorenzo); Pablo Taborda (Italservice Pesaro -Italia-);
At: Santiago Basile (CMB Futsal -Italy-); Lucas Bolo Alemany (San Lorenzo); Ángel Claudino (Palma Futsal -Spain-); Sebastián Corso (Industrias Santa Coloma -Spain-); Leandro Cuzzolino (Italservice Pesaro -Italy-); Matías Edelstein (Hebraica); Andrés Santos (Signor Prestito CMB -Italia-) and Constantino Vaporaki (Meta Catania C5 -Italia-).
Pivots: Cristian Borruto (Italservice Pesaro -Italia-) and Alan Brandi (Jaén Paraíso Interior -Spain-)
Source: FIFA and AFA.