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Lionel Messi comes through for Argentina in opening win over Bosnia
Question of the Day
After a frustrating first half, the Argentina captain scored in trademark style in the 65th minute on Sunday night, completing a quick 1-2 connection Gonzalo Higuain and running through defenders before striking a brilliant left-footed shot off the post.
The goal — only the second for Messi on football’s biggest stage — set off wild celebrations among the throngs of Argentine fans that had turned the famed Maracana stadium into a sea of blue and white. It also energized an unimpressive Argentina team that was ahead at that point only because of an early own goal by Bosnia.
“It’s the first game, I was anxious, nervous,” Messi said. “It was important to start with a win. We’ve got to improve certain things, but it was important to start with the three points.”
Bosnia bounced back after the early setback, with Izet Hajrovic slipping through Argentina’s five-man defense but failing to beat goalkeeper Sergio Romero. Five minutes before the break, Senad Lulic tested Romero’s reflexes with a well-timed header on a corner kick.
Messi, who has been accused by critics of not playing with as much heart for the national team as he does for Barcelona, pulled on his blue-and-white striped jersey and ran to the sideline before pumping his fist toward the fans.
“I wanted to release all the energy from other times when things didn’t go right (with the national team),” he said. “It’s always a pleasure to score with the national team”.
Second-half substitute Ibisevic put some nerve back in the match when he picked up a pass from Senad Lulic and slotted the ball between Romero’s legs.
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