Messi's Magic Moment Sinks Swiss in Extra Time
Dodgy but disciplined.
That's the best way to describe the four bracket favorites as the World Cup unfolds in dramatic fashion.
- Brazil has home turf going for it, but looks like an assembly of strangers out there.
- Germany is as methodical as it gets, but suffers inexplicable spells of mediocrity, except when it plays Portugal.
- The Netherlands, at least, looks the part but is probably the most fortunate of the four to still be in the competition.
Then there's Argentina.
OK, besides her, the side's most notable feat is extending the hopes of lesser sides before dashing them.
- Bosnia-Herzogovina should have been no more than extra credit in a spelling bee, and only another one of Lionel Messi's trademark heroics gave La Albiceleste a harder-than-it-shoulda-been 2-1 result.
- Iran -- Iran, for chrissakes! -- kept Messi & Co in check for all but one 91st minute strike by the master hizzownself. One. That's all. Really.
- Nigeria had qualified. The Argies had qualified. The match looked like it. Oh, and Messi popped two more.
So, with the Swiss giving as good as they got in their Round of 16 tilt with the Argies, is there any doubt who stepped up to run with a turnover and create the space for the game's only goal? Of course not.
Ángel di María just scored the easiest goal of his international life.
And yet, Argentina could just barely live with the prosperity. Swiss sub Blerim Džemaili will have nightmares over this last-gasp double miss for a while:
And therein lies the difference between the sides that have been there and the sides that haven't.