Not many players do it or have done it quite like Lionel Messi in football, which is why he is considered one of the best players in the world.
With 763 goals and 365 assists from 970 senior matches, a total of 39 trophies won (second most titles in history behind Dani Alves, who has 42), and seven Ballon d’Or awards (most in history), he makes a convincing to be the direct Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) of the sport.
But only one of those 39 trophies is an international senior trophy with Argentina, which he has played for the last 17 years (since 2005). It happened after four disappointments in the final round, one of which was the World Cup in 2014.
His performance at that Football World Cup is considered to be one of the greatest international tournament performances in recent history. In this article, we take a look at Messi’s seven matches leading up to the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which was held in Brazil.
Messi World Cup 2014 summary
Before the World Cup, Messi suffered an injury-plagued season in Barcelona. There were doubts about his fitness and form, but he continued to show his doubts.
He has just been selected as captain of the national team that year, and in his first four World Cup matches as national team captain, he was named the man of the match.
Argentina’s first match at the showpiece in 2014 was against Bosnia-Herzegovina, which they won 2-1. Messi scores the second goal after getting the Bosnians to score an own goal. In the second match against Iran, Messi scored in overtime to help Argentina win 1-0 to secure their place in the quarter-finals. Messi then scored twice against a struggling Nigeria in their third match to help Argentina end the group stage as the first. place.
Their quarter-final match against Switzerland stretched into extra time, and Messi assisted the winning goal to help Argentina further with a 1-0 victory. He was not so influential in the 1-0 quarter-final victory against Belgium, but was a constant threat to the Belgian defense, allowing Argentina to make their first semi-final since 1990.
They were drawn against Holland and both teams could not break down each other in regulatory and extended playing time. Messi was, as always, a threat, but the Dutch were ready for the task. Messi stepped up as captain in the resulting penalty shootout to open the scoring for Albiceleste, which they won 4-2.
The final was more of the same, with Messi and Argentina meeting the best team in the last few years at the time, Germany. Messi missed a couple of chances and created much more, but a goal from Mario Götze in extra time broke Argentina’s hearts and denied Messi the World Cup in 2014.
Statistics for the Messi World Cup 2014
Messi finished as the joint third goal scorer with four goals, all scored in the group stage. He won the prize for most man in the match together with Holland’s Arjen Robben (3) in the group game. He also created the most chances (4) in the group stage.
In total, he won five man of the match awards, the same with Robben, and created the most chances, while completing the most dribbles per. match (6.6 dribbles per match).
He also had the most key passes per game (3.3 key passes per game) and was the most crucial player overall in the attack.
However, it was a controversial World Cup as the golden ball awarded to Messi for being the best player could have been won by a number of players, as the media and even Diego Maradona pointed out.
Whatever your opinion of Messi’s 2014 World Cup performance is, one thing remains true and that is that Messi was at his utmost in that tournament.
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