Written by Chris Winterburn
Follow Chris on Twitter @Chriswin4
Argentina’s opening victory of their World Cup campaign was not the straightforward result many were expecting from Alejandro Sabella’s side in their home continent. The first-half was a very difficult affair with Sabella’s tactical setup not benefitting Lionel Messi in the slightest, as I discuss here.
This opened up much half-time discussion on just why Messi couldn’t perform at the World Cup, however his second-half display put a kibosh on such talk.
Argentine veteran Juan Sebastian Veron has since spoken to adidas about Lionel Messi and Argentina’s chances in Brazil.
One of the main talking points surrounding Messi’s legacy is his ability to lead his country to glory in a World Cup. People who use Pele and Diego Maradona as measuring sticks suggest that a true mark of greatness is being able to lift the famous trophy and with Argentina disappointing in 2010, it was muted that Messi might not be able to repeat the feat of Maradona.
Veron disagrees, pointing out that the FC Barcelona forward has already achieved more than enough to cement his status as one of, if not the, greatest player ever.
Messi is already one of the best players in history and that will never change.
He holds the key. He doesn’t have to win a World Cup to be regarded as the best ever.
He’s already proven so, and there are many great players who are great players and never won a World Cup. But, it will be incredible to see him win it for Argentina and his team, as well as for his own story.
An encouraging sign for Messi and Argentina is just how well he slotted into Sabella’s 4-2-3-1 system in the second-half. Gonzalo Higuain’s introduction gave him a player to play off and this saw the tempo of Argentina’s attacks increase. It is unlikely Sabella will deviate from this system for the upcoming match against Iran with Messi appearing so confident following his strike against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Juan Sebastian Veron was a key part of the Argentinean footballing setup since 1997. Although he missed the 2006 World Cup in Germany due to difficulties within his club career at the time causing a lengthy dip in form, the man himself says it feels strange not to be involved this time around, “Although I miss playing in a World Cup, for the first time I’m able to see it from a different perspective and really enjoying my time here in Brazil. I’ve been able to watch many great games.”
Argentina were one of the pre-tournament favourites and although the defensive line is lacking in individual quality, a Lionel Messi hitting form at the right time is enough to drive most teams to the latter stages. In the interview Veron suggests that the importance of gaining a victory in the opening group match is invaluable in terms of providing ‘tranquillity’ to a group with the pressure in the remaining two fixtures significantly lowered,
We’ve won our first game which is great, it’s important to start the World Cup winning and it will bring a lot of tranquillity to the next match.
The team also know that a lot more hard work is needed and some improvements are needed.
It’s very important for there to be a balance between our defence and attack and the team needs to stay together as they’re a collective of many components, with many solutions.
I’m confident we’ll do well, but remember, in football anything can happen.
Argentina next take to the field against Iran on Saturday before their final group game against a lacklustre Nigeria side on Wednesday June 25th.
Juan Sebastian Veron was talking as part of the adidas #allin or nothing campaign