The FIFA World Cup inaugural game for Group F took place today with a match between Argentina and World Cup rookies, Bosnia and Herzegovnia. Argentina’s team has been touted as a finely tuned machine of sorts, however there was some skepticism as to whether their starting formation was the right choice. This game was important for Bosnia to make its opening statement as a squad, and despite the loss, they gave a good showing and were able to dominate possession at times. Ultimately, Messi was able to drive home the win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Argentina came out strong at kickoff and posed an immediate threat to the Bosnian defense by winning a free kick just outside the corner of the box in the first two minutes of play. Messi took the kick and the ball ultimately bounced off defender Sead Kolašinac’s leg resulting in an own goal. The goal goes down as the fastest own goal scored in World Cup history.
The game spoke to each team’s preferred formation and their ability to make adequate adjustments for the second half. Argentina came out with a 5-3-2, a conservative defensive formation. Although Messi’s ability to perform on the international stage has been questioned in the past, the FC Barcelona forward combined very well up top with Agüero, who was largely absent otherwise. There were times when Messi could have been more selfish in front of the goal by taking the shot himself instead of passing it off. Messi also dropped back into the central position and was able to dub as a central midfielder, giving his team the dominant presence in the midfield. Despite the conservative five-man defense, though, Bosnia was able to penetrate the Argentinian back line on numerous occasions.
Bosnia opted for a 4-3-2-1 set up with Edin Džeko as the lone striker. The Bosnian defense proved to be solid against much of Argentina’s attack, and demonstrated remarkable composure while playing out of the back. There were moments of weakness during the second half when it seemed like fatigue had set in and silly turnovers were given to the feet of Argentina’s offense. Bosnia’s spunk up top seemed to further dwindle as time when on in the second half.
In the 65th minute Messi took the ball himself and converted the opportunity into a goal. Messi initiated the play in the midfield, combining a one-two at the top of the box before putting the ball in the back of the net. Messi’s goal has been eagerly awaited by naysayers who have questioned the player’s ability to perform on the international stage. After driving home the win for Argentina, hopefully Messi will be able to deflect more of the criticism of his international performance.
At the start of the 85th minute Vedad Ibišević received a through pass in the box. He responded with a shot that Romero could not get an adequate hold of and the ball rolled in the goal, bringing the score to its final result at 2-1. In the remaining minutes of the game, Bosnia was unable to take advantage of their scoring opportunities.
As the first game of Group F, the match between Bosnia and Argentina added to the high goal average that has been seen this World Cup. Of the 11 games, 10 have seen at least three goals scored throughout the match. The Bosnian team has much to be proud of despite the loss, and will face Nigeria Saturday, June 21st. Argentina will also play that Saturday, as they go up against Iran. The question on everyone’s minds is if Messi will be able to continue his goalscoring streak and lead the drive to secure another victory for Argentina.
Commentary by Courtney Anderson
Observation by Courtney Anderson