Pressure on Messi Could Give Germany Title

Pressure on Messi Could Give Germany Title

Thursday, July 10, 2014 12:23 pm

When the World Cup final kicks off at the iconic Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, it would be the third time Argentina and Germany would compete for the world title; which is a new record in World Cup history.

Then as West Germany, the Germans had won the 1990 World Cup in Italy and gained vengeance on losing to a Diego Maradona inspired Argentina at Mexico’s Aztec Stadium in 1986.

Maradona scores the infamous 'Hand of God' goal in 1986 [via]

Those years were the peak of Maradona as the world’s best footballer, making him Argentina’s greatest ever player and setting the bar of eclipsing him so high it may take its toll on the current Argentina team preparing ahead of Sunday’s final.

For a long time, Maradona’s younger compatriot Lionel Messi has been touted as the greatest footballer of this generation due to his remarkable return of goals and slew of titles won individually and with his Spanish club Barcelona.

But that has been the bane of Messi being regarded acrossboard as the greatest player of all time, as it has been argued his failure to put in similar displays with Argentina and win major titles keeps him from eclipsing Maradona’s achievements.

Maradona had led Argentina to the 1986 world title and the final in 1990 while also shining for Napoli where he won two league titles and the UEFA Cup. Maradona also played for Barcelona earlier in his career and won the Copa Del Rey in 1983.

Messi did do well in the cadet levels for Argentina, winning the U20 World Cup in 2005 and the 2008 Olympics (beating Nigeria in the final on both occasions) while also being named young player of the tournament at the 2007 Copa America where Argentina finished as runners-up.

Since the 2007 Copa America however, Messi has failed to replicate his staggering form at Barcelona with Argentina, culminating in average outings at the 2010 World Cup and 2011 Copa America as well as in qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup where he managed only four goals in 18 matches.

Messi celebrates match winner against Bosnia [via]

That however began to change during qualification for the 2014 World Cup with Messi scoring 10 goals along the way as Argentina qualified for the World Cup with two matches to spare.

At the World Cup, Messi has been the most consistent performer for Argentina, weighing in with four goals and one assist on their way to reaching the final for the first time since 1990.

On that account alone Messi has proved critics wrong but helping Argentina to the world title would clear all remaining doubts about him being the greatest footballer of all time and finally grow out of the shadow of Pele and Maradona who had described an 18 year old Messi as his ‘successor’ back in 2006.

Against Germany however, Messi and Argentina come up against a very driven team aiming to bury past disappointments of coming so close in the last three World Cups by winning the title in Brazil.

And after coming through the toughest group at the mundial without defeat, Germany have shown great efficiency and dexterity to go past Algeria and France before bringing those pair of traits to fore in devastating manner against Brazil in the semi-final.

Dutch defence stifled Messi's presence in the match [via]

Having been stifled and left fatigued by sturdy Dutch defending in the semi-final, Messi would require his Argentina teammates to step up against Germany in the final or risk watching Messi be helpless to inspire Argentina and end up on the losing end again following losses to Germany in the quarter-final stage at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

Join The Conversation

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.