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Ping pong, pool table, basketball dunking contest & turning cheerleaders for team trick games was how Argentina limbered down ahead of quarters

Another feature of team bonding has been 'trick challenges' with 16 teams of three members each - including players and support staff. The winning kitty was $4,800 for the ultimate challenge.

Argentina's Lionel Messi attends Argentina's official training, ahead the World Cup soccer quarter finals match between Argentina and Netherlands. (AP)
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The Qatar University hallowed premises housing the Argentina national team and football’s presiding royalty, Lionel Messi, witnessed some R&R times before the Albiceleleste swung back into serious mode ahead of the Dutch clash.

The entertainment zone for the Argentines has pool tables, ping-pong tables, televisions with Play Station consoles, a target shooting board with darts, a swimming pool and a basketball court, among other recreations.

Camped for three weeks there now, these little distractions also helped the Argentines settle into a routine after their shock loss to Saudi Arabia and subsequent bounceback.

According to the daily Clarin, “The round of dunks starts early with Lionel Messi, Rodrigo De Paul and Pap Gómez. Then others join and thus the day of the Argentine squad begins daily. The workouts are generally in the afternoon, but some take the opportunity to go to the gym or kinesiology in the morning or before practice.”

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In the TV room, the viewing sets are always on with World Cup matches. “You watch a lot of football,” Clarin quoted the squad members as saying, adding that the team got together to watch Brazil’s dancing demolition of South Korea on Monday night.

Another feature of team bonding has been ‘trick challenges’ with 16 teams of three members each – including players and support staff. The winning kitty was $4,800 for the ultimate challenge.

Sadly – and expectedly – none of the footballers including the team of Lionel Messi, Rodrigo De Paul and Leandro Paredes, have reached the trick challenge knockouts, with the small matter of a World Cup to win.

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The team made up of Claudio Tapia (president of the AFA), Omar Souto (manager of National Teams) and Beto Pernas (administrative) will take on Jorge Miadosqui (Selections secretary), Damián Albil (goalkeeping coach) and Nico P (props) in this final of spicy duels across various consoles and board games and pool table. Those eliminated have assumed cheer leading duties for those still in competition, and each win on the table is celebrated as a goal.

First published on: 08-12-2022 at 08:08 IST
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