Sometimes there’s no controversy, just goals. Nice, isn’t it? Lionel Messi showed once more why he is the best footballer on the planet with two first half goals that helped Argentina beat Nigeria 3-2, which turned out to be enough for both teams to qualify into the round of 16, while a historic 3-1 win for Bosnia over Iran did nothing but ruin the dreams and hopes of the Iranian team. Messi scored his first goal after only three minutes. A beautiful attack from Argentina ended with Angel di Maria missing in front of the Enyeama (not for the last time), but Messi came in swooping for behind to score from the rebound with a clever and powerful kick to the top of the net. Messi scored his second goal during injury time of the first half, scoring from from around 23 meters with a free kick. Messi wasn’t the only good player for Argentina in the win. Ezequiel Lavezzi continued impressing with his ability to create chances for himself and others. If goal scoring wasn’t part of being a striker, Lavezzi might have been recognized as one of the best forwards in the world. Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero continue to disappoint. Marcos Rojo scored the winner for Argentina off a corner kick in the 50th minute.
Ahmed Musa twice ruined things for Argentina with goals coming a minute or two after Messi scored. The first coming in the 4th minute, the other coming right after the second half began. Nigeria don’t know how to defend in a way that makes teams feel uncomfortable, but their speed at times is extremely to difficult for even the best of teams, and that will be their strength against whoever they meet in the next stage, making it into the final 16 for the first time since 1998.
Argentina are a good, unexceptional team when Lionel Messi isn’t playing, as he spent the final 27 minutes on the bench while Ricky Alvarez tried impressing and showing off his skills to get more minutes in the next match. However, with Messi, in the kind of form he’s in, maybe for the first time looking better with the national team than with Barcelona, they are certainly one of the first names when you try thinking about the favorites.
Bosnia? They can feel that they’ve been hard done by. Terrible officiating in their match against Nigeria probably cost them a place in the next round. Edin Dzeko, Mirlaem Pjanic and Vrsajevic scored in what turned out to be the first win ever for the side in the World Cup. It helped Nigeria make their loss become redundant, as a terrible Iranian team goes home without doing anything noteworthy except some bus parking in all three matches.