The group F opener was the first game in this World Cup played in the renovated Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janiero. Both team selections threw up a few surprises as Bosnia opted to leave out Vedad Ibisevic, scorer of six goals during qualifying and the Argentina line up didn’t include Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain or former Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago.
The game got underway and after just three minutes Argentina won a free kick in a dangerous area. Lionel Messi delivered the ball in and the Argentinian full back, Rojo, flicked it on towards Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac who knew very little about it and couldn’t stop the ball going into his own net. Bosnia were already 1-0 down just a few minutes into their biggest ever game but Safet Susic’s men composed themselves and came into the game following the goal. The Bosnian’s dealt well with Argentina talisman Messi and had a few crosses into the box themselves, creating chances. Then on 40 minutes the Europeans won a corner and a brilliant header from Lulic forced Sergio Romero into a stunning save. Two minutes later, Bosnia had another attempt on goal, a lacklustre shot from Besic but Bosnia really proving their worth and headed in at half time looking like they could really get something from this game.
Half time came and went and we saw the withdrawals of Maxi Rodriguez and Hugo Campagnaro with Gonzalo Higuain and Fernando Gago entering the field of play. This dropped Messi back into the midfield though it not change Argentina’s shape but did make them more lethal on the counter-attack. The game continued to be an even affair with both sides having plenty of the football without an end product. Barcelona striker and four times Ballon D’or winner Lionel Messi was looking disinterested and wasn’t having the impact expected, when on 65 minutes the little genius took it past the Bosnian defence with ease and smashed it into the bottom left hand corner.
The South Americans were completely on top and cruising after the goal that looked to have confirmed the three points, when with five minutes left on the clock substitute Vedad Ibisevic, who spent many of his development years in the United States, put the ball through Argentine goalkeeper Romero’s legs to pull one back. The crowd was on its feet as Bosnia went on the attack once more but the attack broke down and Lionel Messi and Co saw out a less than comprehensive victory. Overall a good game for the neutral and both teams will be in good stead to continue the quest of qualifying to the knockout stage.
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