Soccer

Has Messi Cracked on the World Stage?

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Saturday started off with a squeaker win by France over Australia in what was a great reason why goal line technology will help make the game fairer and leave it out of the ref’s hands. It was an underwhelming win for France in that they struggled the whole match against a weaker opponent but they pulled it off. That is not the same sentiment I can give to Argentina in today’s draw. Argentina played Iceland (first World Cup appearance) in what was supposed to be Messi’s answer to the GOAT challenge laid on by Ronaldo just the night before. However, Messi came up short as he has done before in previous World Cups.

Messi’s latest letdown came in the 64′ minute after a penalty in the box. This is usually where Messi shines, but he was thwarted by Iceland’s goalie, Hannes Halldorsson, who also happens to be a filmmaker. An Iceland team that seems to be an equivalent of a militia group of farmers and welders from the middle ages, was able to hold their own against a World Cup powerhouse liken to the Knights Templar. As we saw Ronaldo single-handily save Portugal from a loss against an equally dominant team in Spain, Messi let his teams down by drawing against a World Cup team that was happy to get the invite. Let’s be honest, it’s starting to become a trend for Messi on this stage.

In 2014, Messi scored 4 goals in 7 matches which, on the surface, appears to be a solid international campaign, but not for one of the best players in the world. The final against Germany last year was a moment in which Argentina fans saw Messi in the same light as Diego Mardona, but it did not come to pass. He had chances in that final to cement his status of international greatness, but instead of hoisting the FIFA World Cup trophy, he won the player of the tournament trophy, which he took with disgust as Germany was celebrating their victory.

There is no doubt that Messi is one of the most dominant players of his generation and will likely go down as one of the all time greats. However, he has to feel that even though he may be recognized on the global stage, his God-like status among Argentinians has to be starting to fade. This World Cup is far from over and it is expected that Argentina will play well into July but Messi’s titles with F.C. Barcelona will not please Argentina in the annals of history.

 

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