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Match Report

World Cup - Brazil 2014

Sunday, 15 June 2014,

Argentina
2
-
Full Time
Live
-
1
Bosnia & Hz
  • Kickoff: 23:00 BST
  • Stadium: Estadio do Maracanã
  • Referee: -
  • Stadium: Estadio do Maracanã
  • Attendance: 74,738
  • 3' Sead Kolasinac - og
  • 65' Lionel Messi
  • 84' Vedad Ibisevic

Argentina

Half time

Full time

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina: 50-50 Challenge

Our expert bloggers will give their thoughts ahead of each game so as Bosnia-Herzegovina take on Argentina in Group F, Sasa Ibrulj (Bosnia) and Sam Kelly (Argentina) are your guides.

What's at stake?

Sam Kelly: These sides have only met twice before -- and never competitively -- so there's not much of a rivalry to speak of. The head-to-head is currently 2-0 in Argentina's favour, with seven goals scored and none conceded. The last time they played was a friendly in the USA last November, which Argentina won 2-0 using a similar 5-3-2 system to the one they've employed in training prior to this match. Of course, as one of the pre-tournament favourites and an eternal heavyweight, it's Argentina who have all the pressure to get off to a good start.

Sasa Ibrulj: Playing their first ever World Cup match against one of the best teams in the world -- what can go wrong for Bosnia-Herzegovina? After years of struggling in mediocrity, the Dragons have finally reached the world stage. The celebration in Sarajevo after they beat Lithuania in the last match of the qualifiers, when more than 50,000 people went out on the streets and had a parade for the team, proves that for this country, just being in Brazil is equal to winning the title.

Of course, the expectations back home -- and among the players -- are bigger than just being tourists but all the pressure is on Argentina. This should be the easiest match for Bosnia.

X factor

SK: Argentina have a few players who can hold their own when it comes to good passing and attacking flair. But let's face it, while my pre-tournament blogs about the importance of Ángel Di María and Sergio Agüero are worth baring in mind, there's only man we can seriously mention here.

Lionel Messi is about to begin his third World Cup; his first as an undisputed centrepiece under a proper manager and he has a point to prove. One match isn't going to make or break his tournament but he'd certainly love to get off to a good start, as would his legions of fans around the world.

SI: The whole world will talk about Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic but the Bosnians need their defence to provide the X-factor. Muhamed Besic, the Berlin-born 21-year-old defender has been converted to a holding midfielder and could be crucial to their hopes of stopping Argentina's attack.

Fear factor

SK: It's easy to pick out the opposing centre forward, but it's especially so when he's just a season like the season Manchester City's Dzeko has just had. A solid one-goal-in-two striker, he's managed slightly more than that for his country and his aerial presence could allow the Bosnians a chance to test Argentina's weakest link -- the wide positions in defence, particularly Marcos Rojo on the left -- in their very first match.

SI: Was the answer ever this obvious? Messi´s motivation is huge; he wants to show the whole planet that he is capable of working his magic in Argentina´s shirt.

Their team look impressive -- especially up front -- but Messi remains their number one and a lot depends on him. Some suggest he needs to win the World Cup to be considered the greatest ever footballer and he has the ability to do that.

Fear is a good word for it.

Key battle

SK: Di María v Haris Medunjanin should be interesting. If Medunjanin can keep up with him and successfully shackle him, it will go some way to cutting off the fluidity between Argentina's midfield and strike force, which could be even more important since unless Gonzalo Higuaín is passed fit to start.

This looks unlikely at the time of writing and although the two up front will be Messi and Agüero -- a scary proposition for opponents, true -- it is not an ideal combination if Argentina find themselves having to bypass midfield and look long.

SI: Dzeko v Ezequiel Garay. The Dragons will not have many chances but Dzeko will have to take the best out of the ones they create. With Bosnia-Herzegovina probably being forced to sit deep and Dzeko isolated up front, his movement will be crucial if they want to create any danger.

Prediction

SK: As they did in November, I think Argentina can win this one by a couple of goals. I'll go for 3-1. They look motivated, disciplined and happy together and Bosnia-Herzegovina have the not inconsiderable task of having to work out how to defend against Messi, who didn't play the friendly in St. Louis last year.

SI: I would't be a proper Bosnian-Herzegovinian if I didn't believe the team could surprise one of the best in the world. Argentina have rarely impressed in their opening World Cup matches but they have not lost or drawn since defeat to Cameroon at Italia 1990. Even if my only argument here is that they have to slip at some point and the pressure is on them, I will stay an optimist and believe in 1-1 draw.

91'+3

End Regular Time

91'+1

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Argentina) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Gonzalo Higuaín.

91'+1

Gonzalo Higuaín (Argentina) Assists Shot at 92'

91'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 91'

91'

Edin Dzeko (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Blocked Pass at 91'

91'

Senad Lulic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 91'

90'

Haris Medunjanin (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Blocked Pass at 90'

89'

Lucas Biglia (Argentina) Blocked Pass at 89'

89'

Marcos Rojo (Argentina) Free Kick at 89'

88'

Lionel Messi (Argentina) wins a free kick on the left wing.

87'

Substitution, Argentina. Lucas Biglia replaces Sergio Agüero.

87'

Attempt missed. Haris Medunjanin (Bosnia and Herzegovina) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Miralem Pjanic.

87'

Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Assists Shot at 87'

84'

2 - 1

Goal! Argentina 2, Bosnia and Herzegovina 1. Vedad Ibisevic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Senad Lulic with a through ball.

84'

Senad Lulic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Assists Shot at 84'

84'

Attempt saved. Edin Visca (Bosnia and Herzegovina) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Haris Medunjanin.

84'

Haris Medunjanin (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Assists Shot at 84'

83'

Ermin Bicakcic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 83'

82'

Sergio Agüero (Argentina) Corner Kick at 82'

82'

Corner, Argentina. Conceded by Emir Spahic.

81'

Attempt blocked. Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

81'

Attempt blocked. Haris Medunjanin (Bosnia and Herzegovina) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Senad Lulic.

81'

Senad Lulic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Assists Shot at 81'

80'

Emir Spahic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Free Kick at 80'

80'

Foul by Ezequiel Garay (Argentina).

79'

Ermin Bicakcic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 79'

79'

Sergio Agüero (Argentina) Blocked Pass at 79'

78'

Attempt missed. Gonzalo Higuaín (Argentina) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Lionel Messi with a through ball.

78'

Lionel Messi (Argentina) Assists Shot at 78'

76'

Attempt missed. Sergio Agüero (Argentina) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Fernando Gago.

76'

Fernando Gago (Argentina) Assists Shot at 76'

76'

Marcos Rojo (Argentina) Throw In at 76'

74'

Ángel Di María (Argentina) Free Kick at 74'

74'

Substitution, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Haris Medunjanin replaces Zvjezdan Misimovic.

74'

Lionel Messi (Argentina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

73'

Fernando Gago (Argentina) Blocked Pass at 73'

72'

Asmir Begovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Free Kick at 72'

72'

Hand ball by Marcos Rojo (Argentina).

72'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 72'

71'

Lionel Messi (Argentina) Free Kick at 71'

71'

Substitution, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Edin Visca replaces Izet Hajrovic.

70'

Ángel Di María (Argentina) wins a free kick on the left wing.

70'

Ermin Bicakcic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Blocked Pass at 70'

69'

Attempt missed. Izet Hajrovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Miralem Pjanic with a headed pass following a corner.

69'

Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Assists Shot at 69'

69'

Substitution, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Vedad Ibisevic replaces Mensur Mujdza.

69'

Edin Dzeko (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Corner Kick at 69'

69'

Corner, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Conceded by Federico Fernández.

68'

Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Blocked Pass at 68'

65'

2 - 0

Goal! Argentina 2, Bosnia and Herzegovina 0. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Gonzalo Higuaín.

65'

Gonzalo Higuaín (Argentina) Assists Shot at 65'

65'

Federico Fernández (Argentina) Free Kick at 65'

65'

Foul by Edin Dzeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

64'

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

63'

Emir Spahic

63'

Sergio Agüero (Argentina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

62'

Sergio Romero (Argentina) Free Kick at 62'

62'

Offside, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Senad Lulic tries a through ball, but Edin Dzeko is caught offside.

61'

Attempt missed. Muhamed Besic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Zvjezdan Misimovic.

61'

Zvjezdan Misimovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Assists Shot at 61'

59'

Emir Spahic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Blocked Pass at 59'

58'

Corner, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Conceded by Javier Mascherano.

58'

Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Corner Kick at 58'

58'

Mensur Mujdza (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 58'

56'

Ángel Di María (Argentina) Throw In at 56'

55'

Attempt missed. Sergio Agüero (Argentina) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

55'

Lionel Messi (Argentina) Assists Shot at 55'

54'

Attempt saved. Izet Hajrovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Senad Lulic.

54'

Senad Lulic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Assists Shot at 54'

54'

Federico Fernández (Argentina) Free Kick at 54'

53'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

53'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 53'

53'

Sergio Romero (Argentina) Free Kick at 53'

52'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

52'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 52'

52'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 52'

51'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 51'

51'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 51'

51'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 51'

50'

Gonzalo Higuaín (Argentina) Blocked Pass at 50'

50'

Attempt saved. Izet Hajrovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

49'

Foul by Federico Fernández (Argentina).

49'

Izet Hajrovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 49'

49'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 49'

48'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 48'

48'

Gonzalo Higuaín (Argentina) Blocked Pass at 48'

48'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 48'

47'

Sergio Romero (Argentina) Free Kick at 47'

46'

Offside, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sead Kolasinac tries a through ball, but Senad Lulic is caught offside.

46'

Attempt blocked. Zvjezdan Misimovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Miralem Pjanic with a cross.

46'

Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Assists Shot at 46'

46'

Corner, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Conceded by Marcos Rojo.

46'

Edin Dzeko (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Corner Kick at 46'

46'

Start 2nd Half

46'

Substitution, Argentina. Gonzalo Higuaín replaces Maxi Rodríguez.

46'

Substitution, Argentina. Fernando Gago replaces Hugo Campagnaro.

46'+1

Halftime

44'

Javier Mascherano (Argentina) Blocked Pass at 44'

43'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Free Kick at 43'

43'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43'

Attempt missed. Muhamed Besic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Sead Kolasinac.

43'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Assists Shot at 43'

42'

Mensur Mujdza (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 42'

41'

Attempt saved. Izet Hajrovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

41'

Sergio Romero (Argentina) Corner Kick at 41'

41'

Attempt saved. Senad Lulic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Miralem Pjanic with a cross.

41'

Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Assists Shot at 41'

40'

Javier Mascherano (Argentina) Corner Kick at 40'

40'

Ángel Di María (Argentina) Blocked Pass at 40'

39'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 39'

38'

Hugo Campagnaro (Argentina) Throw In at 38'

35'

Javier Mascherano (Argentina) Free Kick at 35'

34'

Hugo Campagnaro (Argentina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

33'

Attempt missed. Edin Dzeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

33'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 33'

33'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 33'

32'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 32'

32'

Attempt saved. Javier Mascherano (Argentina) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

31'

Attempt missed. Maxi Rodríguez (Argentina) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

31'

Lionel Messi (Argentina) Assists Shot at 31'

30'

Mensur Mujdza (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Blocked Pass at 30'

30'

Sergio Romero (Argentina) Free Kick at 30'

29'

Offside, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Izet Hajrovic tries a through ball, but Senad Lulic is caught offside.

29'

Mensur Mujdza (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 29'

29'

Emir Spahic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Free Kick at 29'

29'

Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

29'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 29'

27'

Hugo Campagnaro (Argentina) Throw In at 27'

26'

Izet Hajrovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 26'

26'

Zvjezdan Misimovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Free Kick at 26'

25'

Marcos Rojo

25'

Mensur Mujdza (Bosnia and Herzegovina) wins a free kick on the right wing.

25'

Attempt blocked. Senad Lulic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Edin Dzeko with a headed pass.

25'

Edin Dzeko (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Assists Shot at 25'

25'

Mensur Mujdza (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 25'

21'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 21'

21'

Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Javier Mascherano.

21'

Javier Mascherano (Argentina) Assists Shot at 21'

21'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 21'

18'

Attempt blocked. Sergio Agüero (Argentina) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marcos Rojo.

18'

Marcos Rojo (Argentina) Assists Shot at 18'

17'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 17'

17'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Blocked Pass at 17'

17'

Marcos Rojo (Argentina) Free Kick at 17'

17'

Hand ball by Izet Hajrovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

15'

Hugo Campagnaro (Argentina) Free Kick at 15'

15'

Hugo Campagnaro (Argentina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

15'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Blocked Pass at 15'

15'

Sergio Agüero (Argentina) Blocked Pass at 15'

15'

Muhamed Besic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Free Kick at 15'

15'

Muhamed Besic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

15'

Marcos Rojo (Argentina) Throw In at 15'

15'

Attempt blocked. Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

14'

Zvjezdan Misimovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

12'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 12'

11'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 11'

10'

Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Free Kick at 10'

9'

Zvjezdan Misimovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

9'

Federico Fernández (Argentina) Free Kick at 9'

9'

Federico Fernández (Argentina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

8'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 8'

8'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Blocked Pass at 8'

8'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 8'

7'

Corner, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Conceded by Ezequiel Garay.

7'

Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Corner Kick at 7'

7'

Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Free Kick at 7'

7'

Izet Hajrovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) wins a free kick on the right wing.

6'

Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Throw In at 6'

5'

Sergio Agüero (Argentina) Corner Kick at 5'

5'

Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Throw In at 5'

5'

Muhamed Besic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Blocked Pass at 5'

5'

Attempt blocked. Ángel Di María (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Javier Mascherano.

5'

Javier Mascherano (Argentina) Assists Shot at 5'

4'

Muhamed Besic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Free Kick at 4'

4'

Zvjezdan Misimovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

3'

1 - 0

Own Goal by Sead Kolasinac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Argentina 1, Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.

3'

Attempt missed. Marcos Rojo (Argentina) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Lionel Messi with a cross following a set piece situation.

3'

Lionel Messi (Argentina) Assists Shot at 3'

3'

Lionel Messi (Argentina) Free Kick at 3'

2'

Sergio Agüero (Argentina) wins a free kick on the left wing.

2'

Marcos Rojo (Argentina) Throw In at 2'

2'

Ermin Bicakcic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Blocked Pass at 2'

1'

Kickoff

Show all commentary

Possession

59%
41%
  • Argentina
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

Shots

12
16

Shots on target

2
6

Fouls

10
13

Corners

2
6

Yellow Cards

1
1

Red Cards

0
0

Argentina

Argentina2 - 1Bosnia & Hz
Argentina2 - 0Slovenia
Argentina3 - 0Trinidad & T
Romania0 - 0Argentina
Argentina2 - 0Bosnia & Hz
Argentina0 - 0Ecuador

Bosnia & Hz

Argentina2 - 1Bosnia & Hz
Mexico0 - 1Bosnia & Hz
Bosnia & Hz2 - 1C d'Ivoire
Bosnia & Hz0 - 2Egypt
Argentina2 - 0Bosnia & Hz
Lithuania0 - 1Bosnia & Hz

Head to Head

Argentina2 - 1Bosnia & Hz
Argentina2 - 0Bosnia & Hz

Argentina

  • 1Sergio Romero
  • 4Pablo Zabaleta
  • 16Marcos Rojo
  • 2Ezequiel Garay
  • 3Hugo Campagnaro
  • -> Fernando Gago
  • 7Ángel Di María
  • 11Maxi Rodríguez
  • -> Gonzalo Higuaín
  • 17Federico Fernández
  • 10Lionel Messi
  • 14Javier Mascherano
  • 20Sergio Agüero
  • -> Lucas Biglia
  • Subs
  • 19Ricardo Álvarez
  • 22Ezequiel Lavezzi
  • 13Augusto Fernández
  • 23José Basanta
  • 21Mariano Andújar
  • 15Martín Demichelis
  • 12Agustín Orión
  • 18Rodrigo Palacio
  • 8Enzo Pérez

Bosnia & Hz

  • 1Asmir Begovic
  • 3Ermin Bicakcic
  • 4Emir Spahic
  • 5Sead Kolasinac
  • 13Mensur Mujdza
  • -> Vedad Ibisevic
  • 8Miralem Pjanic
  • 16Senad Lulic
  • 7Muhamed Besic
  • 20Izet Hajrovic
  • -> Edin Visca
  • 10Zvjezdan Misimovic
  • -> Haris Medunjanin
  • 11Edin Dzeko
  • Subs
  • 17Senijad Ibricic
  • 22Asmir Avdukic
  • 12Jasmin Fejzic
  • 23Sejad Salihovic
  • 15Toni Sunjic
  • 2Avdija Vrsajevic
  • 14Tino-Sven Susic
  • 6Ognjen Vranjes
  • 21Anel Hadzic

Lionel Messi magic the difference

Lionel Messi scored a goal that is destined to go down in World Cup folklore as Argentina triumphed over tournament newcomers Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The 26-year-old's brilliant run and finish lit up the contest after Argentina had struggled to impose themselves in the first half despite taking an early lead through Sead Kolasinac's own goal.

Messi's goal in the 65th minute, which helped secure a 2-1 victory in their Group F opener, was just sublime. Bosnia rallied late on with substitute Vedad Ibisevic scoring his country's first-ever World Cup goal.

'God is Maradona, the Pope is Francisco, Messi is the King' said one banner in the Maracana. It is fitting that the return of the World Cup to this famous stadium after a 64-year absence will be remembered by a goal worthy of any of that holy trinity from Argentina's captain.

Picking up the ball with Bosnia players blocking his path, Messi played a one-two with substitute Gonzalo Higuain and then embarked on one of those trademark runs across the area, leaving defenders flailing in his wake before slotting a low shot in off the post.

The goal will live long in the memory, especially after the first half had been a disappointment, enlivened only by the own goal. The shot was a single flash of genius from Messi amidst a positive, forceful if unspectacular display from Bosnia.

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant got caught up in the Messi moment and tweeted his thoughts in Spanish: "LEO Genius".

For the Bosnians, playing in their first major tournament as an independent nation, there could not have been a much crueller start to their World Cup debut.

Messi could at least claim the assist, his free-kick from the left flicked off a head and bounced off Schalke defender Kolasinac's shin and in.

The stadium clock had just passed two minutes, and the goal was the cue for Argentina fans to embark on joyous, deafening celebrations that lasted much of the fairly uneventful first half that followed.

"Maradona is better than Pele," they sang, taunting the Bosnian-supporting Brazilians who sprinkled the stadium.

They were not singing about Messi at half-time because that free-kick and one trademark swivelling, snake-hipped run aside, Barcelona's gentle genius had a pretty dreadful first half, conceding possession too often and appearing lethargic off the ball.

Bosnia, by contrast, picked themselves up from that early knock-down and were terrific, unlucky not to equalise through Lazio striker Senad Lulic's superb header which was well saved by Monaco goalkeeper Sergio Romero. Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko also clipped a shot over from a promising position in the defence.

A 'rabona' by Angel di Maria lifted Argentinian spirits -- it was cleared to Javier Mascherano, who unleashed a shot from 25 yards and Begovic was lucky that it was straight at him.

It was perhaps a sign of how well Bosnia had played that Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella made a double substitution at half-time, changing to a more positive 4-3-3 formation.

The impact was apparent and what had been a dull, defensive game opened up.

Bosnia were not prepared to settle for a negative part in that script however, and Izet Hajrovic's free-kick was on target but easily saved. The Galatasaray player curled in another effort that was also too easy for Romero.

Messi appeared to relish the extra support, setting up Sergio Aguero only for the Manchester City striker to slice it embarrassingly high and wide.

More quick feet after a loose Hajrovic pass saw Messi set up Aguero again: this time he was on target but Begovic was up to the test.

Then came the moment much of the world has been waiting for: a classic Messi goal, and one that will be replayed again and again.

Bosnia were pole-axed, Aguero came close to piling on the agony as Messi revelled in the extra space, and himself hit the side-netting.

Ibisevic made it interesting with six minutes left, a well-timed, angled run allowed him to clip the ball past Romero. But this was destined to be Messi's night, and so it proved.


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