‘MESSI’ Tagged Posts

Messi finds the right management, contact and end

The Best FIFA Football Awards™ (FIFA.com) 10 Sep 2018 [embedded content] Make no mistake, Lionel Messi and Argentina were staring into the a...

 

The Best FIFA Football Awards™

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Make no mistake, Lionel Messi and Argentina were staring into the abyss when they walked out to face Nigeria in their final Group D match at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, in Saint Petersburg on 26 June.

In order to avoid their first group-phase exit since Korea/Japan 2002 and only their fourth in the 88-year history of the world finals, Argentina simply had to win and hope the result of the other match in the group went their way. No Albiceleste player was under more pressure than their No10. Having missed a penalty in their group opener against Iceland and been a shadow of himself against Croatia, he had now gone six World Cup matches without scoring a goal.

There were 14 minutes on the clock when Ever Banega picked up possession near the halfway line, with Nigeria centre-half Kenneth Omeruo blissfully unaware of what he was about to face. Spotting Messi in space and Banega lining up a pass to him, Omeruo rushed forward a couple of paces in a bid to snuff out the danger. In the process, he gave his two opponents all they space they needed.

How the goal happened in images

In the blink of an eye, Messi surged into the gap behind Omeruo, while Banega spotted the opening and sent the ball flying over the head of the bewildered central defender. With his side standing on the brink of elimination, Messi then did what only legends can do.

Running at full speed, Messi skipped into the air and cushioned Banega’s precision 35-metre pass on his left thigh. Another touch with the top of his left foot before allowed the ball to hit the ground and spring off the turf in front of him. Messi then powered away from Omeruo, now back-tracking in vain, and took six strides before letting fly with a fizzing cross-shot.

Despite standing at 6’5 (196 cm), Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho could do nothing to stop the ball from hitting the back of the net, as the diminutive Messi wheeled away and made for the corner flag, where he sank to his knees in a cathartic blend of relief and triumph. Though Marcos Rojo scored a late winner for Argentina following Nigeria’s equaliser, it was Messi’s wonder goal that paved the way to their place in the last 16. Will it also be good enough to earn him his first ever FIFA Puskás Award?

See also

FIFA Puskás Award: Vote now!

What they said

“It was a huge weight off our shoulders because we’ve had a tough few days, what with our previous results and all the things that came out [in the press].”
Lionel Messi.

“Welcome to Russia 2018, Lionel Messi.”
Gary Lineker, former England international

“It’s a fantastic goal because of Banega’s pass and the two touches Leo takes, first with the thigh and then with the top of the boot. It’s a piece of perfection.”
Mario Kempes, FIFA World Cup winner at Argentina 1978

“The run and two touches before the exquisite finish was what the World Cup needs to be blessed with.”
Rio Ferdinand, former England international

Mbappe, Messi, Cavani and Schmeichel star

 

Kylian Mbappe received a penalty, scored twice and seized a Spherical Four-high 12 factors within the McDonald’s FIFA World Cup™ Fantasy. Edinson Cavani’s double in opposition to Portugal rewarded his coaches with ten factors, whereas Pepe acquired seven.

And although Argentina bowed out after a thriller with France, Lionel Messi, who acquired two assists, Angel Di Maria, Gabriel Mercado and Sergio Aguero acquired eight, seven, six and 5 factors respectively.

Kasper Schmeichel additionally heads dwelling, however he does so atop of the gamers’ leaderboard. A penalty save in opposition to Croatia helped him to 9 factors, which took him on to 27 general, one away from Harry Kane. The person who missed that spot-kick, Luka Modric, pocketed zero factors.

Change your captain

When you have Mbappe or Cavani in your armband, chances are you’ll not need to hand it to another person. But when your skipper didn’t do in addition to deliberate, you in all probability need to choose a brand new one earlier than the Day 16 deadline (16:00 CET on Monday).

Groups boasting Philippe Coutinho, Kevin De Bruyne, Javier Hernandez, Keisuke Honda, Romelu Lukaku and Neymar are in motion on Day 16. And when you select one in every of them, and he doesn’t do nicely, you possibly can at all times change your captain once more forward of the Day 17 deadline (16:00 CET on Tuesday).

Make substitutions

If a participant in your beginning XI didn’t carry out nicely, you possibly can substitute him out for a participant in your bench who hasn’t but performed. Nevertheless, if you wish to herald Kevin De Bruyne for , you’ve got up till the kick-off of the primary recreation of the day (16:00 CET on Monday).

Fixtures

Monday
Brazil-Mexico
Belgium-Japan

Tuesday
Sweden-Switzerland
Colombia-England

Messi, Ronaldo bow out in dramatic knockout openers

 
  • Messi and Ronaldo both eliminated on the same night
  • The pair’s wait for a World Cup title goes on
  • Despite early exit both showed flashes of their brilliance

Two of football’s biggest stars exited the FIFA World Cup™ in the space of just four hours as the knockout stages kicked off with an almighty bang.

First, Lionel Messi’s Argentina departed following an incredible goal-fest with France, before Uruguay edged out Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. The result is that these modern-day icons, who have dominated the game’s individual accolades for the last decade, will be watching the rest of of the tournament from home.

Expectations were high for both to perform, with Ronaldo arriving off the back of yet another UEFA Champions League win and Messi having starred in Barcelona’s La Liga triumph. But although both have made it to the final weekend in the past – Ronaldo having finished fourth in 2006, Messi second in 2014 – the last 16 was where their journey ended this time.

  • 1270 – The number of minutes Lionel Messi (eight games, 23 shots) and Cristiano Ronaldo (six games, 25 shots) have played in the knockout rounds of the World Cup without ever scoring.

With both now into their 30’s, this could well have been their last chance to win the World Cup – almost certainly while still at the peak of their powers. Fans will now watch with intrigue to see who will follow Messi as the latest adidas Golden Ball winner, having seen the Argentinian scoop the prize four years ago.

As they both head for home, we take a look at how their time in Russia will be remembered.

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Lionel Messi

Results
The moment

Having missed a penalty against Iceland in their opening game, and with Argentina in disarray against Croatia, it looked like the tournament might be denied a bit of premium Messi magic. However, the magical No10 delivered in spectacular style with La Albiceleste’s backs against the wall. In one instinctive, flowing movement in the match against Nigeria, Messi took the ball on his thigh, caressed it into his path and fired into the net, wheeling away in a celebration of purest catharsis.

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The stat

4 – Lionel Messi is the only player to have provided an assist at each of the last four World Cups, with his brace today also meaning he is the first Argentinian player to lay on two goals in the same game since Diego Maradona.

The quote

“We have the best player in the world and we had to try to create collective situations to really use that player, who can have many brilliant moments. We tried many different tactics to allow him to do what he can do. Sometimes we managed it, sometimes we didn’t.”
Jorge Sampaoli, Argentina coach

© Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo

Results
The moment

After the sensational 5-0 win for hosts the night before, day two of the tournament was really going to need something special to top it. Ronaldo delivered. As the clash with neighbours Spain looked set to end as a five-goal thriller, the Portugal captain had other ideas. His stoppage-time free-kick, arrowed into the top corner to complete his hat-trick, was a true box-office showstopper.

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The stat

45 – Having never scored from a free-kick at a major international tournament, Ronaldo finally got it right at the perfect and most spectacular time. After 44 misses, 45 turned out to be his lucky number.

The quote

“Cristiano still has a lot to give to football and I hope he will stay to help the young players grow and develop. We have a team with many young players and of course we all want him there with us.”
Fernando Santos, Portugal coach

Still The Best?

With success at the World Cup so often playing a pivotal part in how votes are cast for individual awards, will the The Best FIFA Men’s Player award still be won by one of these two? Or will it go to a new face? We will find out in London on 24 September!