Argentinian cycling trio pull off a ‘miracle’ at FIFA World Cup

Do miracles happen? Yes, they do happen, says Lucas Ledezma, Leandro Blanco Pighi, and Silvio Gatti in unison.

With the match tickets for Sunday’s FIFA World Cup final hard to come by and hitting all roadblocks the trio were left with no other option but to call for divine intervention for the tickets to come their way.

After a few anxious hours and waiting anxiously for a good Samaritan to come their way and hand them tickets. The wait ended on a triumphant note, the first of the two wins they savoured on that day in Doha, Qatar.

A ‘miracle’ did happen with the trio getting three match tickets for the final a few minutes before the kickoff of the match between Argentina and France.

Having earned access to the stadium and being able to watch the football match they were part of yet another triumph this time on the football field.

On Sunday at the Lusail Stadium an author, teacher and content producer from Argentina had the joy of their life’s. One of the three goals of their 10,500 kilometres cycling mission from South Africa to Qatar was achieved with La Albiceleste winning the FIFA World Cup final defeating France 4-2 on penalties.

For Lucas, Leandro, and Gatti, two goals remain to be fulfilled, the Argentinian trio had set out on the cycling journey of a lifetime from Cape Town to Doha in May this year to attend the football showpiece event — the first one to be held in the Middle East and the Arab World.

With Lionel Messi and Scaloneta holding aloft the glittering trophy, one goal became a reality in Qatar with Argentina winning the prize football trophy for the third time.

“WORLD CHAMPIONS Thank you for joining us in this dream. 10,000 km, 13 countries, 6 months, 1 World Cup,” wrote Leandro on his Instagram page.

For the trio who were in Qatar, a few days before the World Cup, two goals remained to be fulfilled once they were back in Argentina — making a documentary of the trip and planting 10,500 trees in Cordoba.

“Córdoba’s native forest has suffered from deforestation for decades, and currently only 3 per cent of its total area remains. We want to raise awareness for this. One of our main goals during this cycling tour through Africa and the Middle East is to work with our beautiful province of Cordoba. We want to change every mile by planting a tree,” they wrote on their Instagram page.

The trio spent 177 days on the road covering 10,000km and crossing 15 countries between Cape Town and Doha with Matias Vercesi joining them in Egypt but again were reduced to a trio with travel agent Silvio heading to Australia, after watching a few matches due to work commitments.

The trio faced a few hiccups on the journey but hit a greater blockade in terms of getting match tickets for the final. But with a few hours left for the kickoff, the tickets came their way thanks to the ‘angel on the road’.

“All these days and even on the final, we were very anxious to find the final match day tickets, it was the most difficult part of the whole tournament. We had to put into practice everything learned during these months, from organising tasks to calling on spiritual help,” said Matias about the challenges they faced in getting the tickets for the final.

“It was a miracle that we got the tickets, a divine intervention,” said Leandro.

“We arrived at the stadium without the tickets and met an “angel of the road” who guided us to find that entrance, I only have words of gratitude, I am privileged to be living this historic and global moment, thanks Leo Messi for making me believe, thank you all for being part of this dream,” added Matias.

The idea for the epic ride came after Argentina booked their spot at Qatar 2022 and is the latest in a series of long-distance cycling trips the quartet has made to major sporting events. In 2016, the four men travelled to the Rio Olympics and took on a similar trek to the last FIFA World Cup in Russia.

“We want to get to Messi. We are Lucas, Silvio and Lea and we are giving it all for the Scaloneta. We travel by bike to Qatar, crossing Africa and the Middle East. We started in South Africa and we want to see Messi caress the trophy.

“The Odyssey has three goals: Get to Qatar to look for the trophy next to the Scaloneta, record a documentary, plant a tree for every KM travelled and let the whole world know about the story,” the group had written on their Instagram page during the trip.

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