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FIFA World Cup: Can Messi make it or mess it up

Can Messi do a Maradona, screamed a headline to the 2014 FIFA World Cup final curtain-raiser. Lionel Messi partially answered the question by carrying the Argentines into Sunday's final against Germany.Not many would like to

IANS [ Updated: July 13, 2014 11:07 IST ]
fifa world cup can messi make it or mess it up
fifa world cup can messi make it or mess it up

Can Messi do a Maradona, screamed a headline to the 2014 FIFA World Cup final curtain-raiser. Lionel Messi partially answered the question by carrying the Argentines into Sunday's final against Germany.



Not many would like to bet against Argentina when Messi is around, but he has to do much more than Maradona did in 1986. Of course, he, too, can get away with the Hand of the God if the overawed referees, gripped by fear of the great man's presence on the field, give him a free hand, as some coaches have alluded for ignoring his fouls.

When a team is over dependent on one star performer the opponents mark him with diligence and here his teammates have to show some imagination to play around him to lend a helping hand.



One thing is for sure, Argentina have proved that they have the defence to keep any forward line in check. They have not conceded a goal in the last three games two of which were played over two hours with extra time coming into play.

Yet, many still think that Germany will roll over the South American finalists, on the evidence of their 7-1 massacre of Brazil, Yes, the Germans looked impressive right from the start, their 2-2 draw against Ghana notwithstanding.



Both teams can take heart from the two World Cup finals in which they met. In 1986, Maradona tilted the balance with his genius and four years later in Rome the Germans repaid the compliment with a 1-0 victory.

It only proves as many conceded, too, that in Europe it is difficult for a South American team to win the Cup and similarly the Latin Americans know how to scheme a victory.

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