Home Sports BRAZIL 2014: MESSI INSPIRES ARGENTINA, FRANCE HAMMERS ECUADOR

BRAZIL 2014: MESSI INSPIRES ARGENTINA, FRANCE HAMMERS ECUADOR

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Lionel Messi scored a superb goal as Argentina began their World Cup campaign with a win over World Cup debutants Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Argentina went ahead when Messi’s free-kick was put into his own net by defender Sead Kolasinac.

Messi then played a one-two with Gonzalo Higuain, jinked past two defenders and rifled in to make it 2-0.

The goal lifted Argentina and, despite Vedad Ibisevic slotting in late on for Bosnia-Hercegovina, they held on.

All eyes were on Messi in the first game of the tournament at the famous Maracana stadium in Rio and, even though the four-time World Player of the Year took time to get going, he announced his arrival in sparkling style with his goal.

The strike was his second World Cup goal in nine games and provided the one piece of mesmerising magic Messi managed in a game in which he and Argentina improved the longer it progressed, reports the BBC.

The blue and white of Argentina fans was prominent at the spiritual home of fierce rivals and hosts Brazil, although they had to watch on as a disciplined Bosnia stifled their side for most of the first half.

There was huge hype around Messi and Argentina getting their campaign under way, and the forward helped his side take an early lead with his first meaningful touch.

He supplied the left wing free-kick which was flicked on by team-mate Rojo before the ball came off defender Kolasinac and went into his own net.

However, Argentina rarely looked like adding to the goal as they lacked pace and invention, while regularly giving the ball away.

Bosnia slowly settled into the match and created sporadic chances, starting with a Miralem Pjanic shot being punched away by keeper Sergio Romero.

Pjanic also opened up Argentina when he clipped a ball over the top of their defence, which Izet Hajrovic brought down only for Romero to quickly come out and save.

Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano had a powerful low shot blocked away by Bosnia keeper Asmir Begovic before Bosnia again went close to equalising.

And goal-line technology was used for the first time in the World Cup finals as France began their campaign with a dominant win over 10-man Honduras.

The moment occurred in the 48th minute for France’s second goal, ruling keeper Noel Valladares to have nudged Karim Benzema’s shot over the line.

The Real Madrid forward gave France the lead from the spot after Paul Pogba had been fouled by Wilson Palacios, reports the BBC.

Benzema added a late third with a vicious strike from a tight angle.

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