Lionel Messi and His Muchachos Achieve Glory in Qatar Soccermetrics
At 35, Lionel Messi has been the subject of many conversations about greatness. He is a man who has consistently shown his excellence at both club and international level.
But when it comes to a World Cup, he has sometimes found it difficult to deliver on the promise he has shown over the last two decades. He has also often been vulnerable to the pressures that have often come with playing on a World Cup stage.
1. Messi vs Croatia
The Argentine star scored two goals and provided a magnificent assist in Argentina’s win over Croatia. The win has made him a heavy favourite to take his country to the World Cup final.
The first came in the 35th minute, and was a masterful piece of movement and quick thinking from Messi. It twisted and turned defender Gvardiol around like he’s lost in a house of mirrors.
The second goal was a simple tap-in from Julian Alvarez, following some calamitous defending from the Croatians. The third was an even more impressive piece of football, as Messi squirmed and twisted himself round and under Gvardiol to set up Alvarez for a tap-in.
2. Messi vs France
It is an classic moment in the past of the game. Lionel Messi and his muchachos achieved glory in Qatar soccermetrics.
The Argentine captain made sure it was a night to remember by lifting the World Cup aloft after beating France in an incredible final. It is the first time in the tournament’s 92-year history that the trophy has been raised in the Middle East and it was an unforgettable sight to behold.
Argentina had been in complete control throughout the 80-minute match, and Messi fired them ahead from the penalty spot after Ousmane Dembele was judged to have tripped Angel Di Maria. It was a soft call, but Di Maria added a second with a fine counter-attack goal.
3. Messi vs Poland
There was a palpable sense of anticipation at Stadium 974 on Wednesday night, as thousands of Argentina fans crammed into the stands to watch their country win 2-0 against Poland. It was a victory that means they advance to the knockout stage and avoid a meeting with France.
But, of course, the question was: can Messi keep up his impressive World Cup form? After all, he’s still one of the game’s most lethal scorers.
It could have been different though if Wojciech Szczesny hadn’t dived superbly to his left and saved Messi’s first-half penalty, which was awarded following a VAR review of an outstretched hand on the Argentine’s face.
4. Messi vs Iran
Argentina clinched a place in the World Cup last eight with an outstanding win over Iran. A stunning 91st-minute winner by Lionel Messi robbed Iran of a point and sent Argentina into the knockout stage, where they face a real fight for glory against England.
For many, Lionel Messi is the greatest player ever to play football. He’s won 41 major trophies, and is likely to overtake his Barcelona team-mate at some point this season to become the top goal scorer in the history of the sport.
He’s also one of the most efficient attackers on the planet, based on shot-location data. Despite taking twice as many shots as the average forward, Messi shoots more efficiently than most and is a top scorer per shot attempt.
5. Messi vs Belgium
In a match that could have easily gone either way, Argentina were too focused on the task at hand to be sloppy. They dominated the first half, but were caught on the break by an excellent Higuain finish.
The Argentine captain was at his ruthless best in this game, controlling the midfield and running at every defender he saw with an adidas brazuca. He was the most influential player in this match and he has been at his best all tournament long.
This is a very important game for Messi and his muchachos, as it gives him the chance to set another World Cup record and become the all-time top goalscorer in the history of the tournament. And to do this, he has to work really hard on the pitch.