Lionel Messi began the 2014 World Cup in style with a majestic goal to put Argentina 2-0 up against Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the famed Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Messi marked the occasion with a brilliant, trademark run past two Bosnia defenders on the edge of the box before placing a perfect shot past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
The goal was just Messi’s second at a World Cup and comes amid much scrutiny as to whether the forward can reproduce the type of brilliance he has displayed with such regularity with Barcelona to mark him out as the best player of his generation. The pressure is on to match the achievements of compatriot Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup trophy.
Before his goal, it had been far from a standout performance from Messi as Argentina struggled in the first half of their opening Group F match. But the arrival off the bench of Fernando Gago and Gonzalo Higuain at half-time gave Messi the support to flourish.
And in the 65th minute he did so in spectacular fashion. He has now already eclipsed his total from a relatively disappointing World Cup in South Africa four years ago.