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October 25, 2014
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Messi beauty gives Argentina win in World Cup opener

A wonderful strike from Lionel Messi in the second half helped Argentina to a narrow 2-1 victory in the Maracaná, as Alejandro Sabella's men downed Bosnia-Herzegovina in a tight match to pick up the maximum three points in their World Cup curtain-raiser.

The 'Albiceleste' enjoyed the perfect start to their Brazil 2014 campaign, taking the lead in just two minutes to lead 1-0 following an own goal by Bosnia.

A Messi free-kick was deflected across the goal and finally fell to the unfortunate Sead Kolosinac, who saw the ball bounce off his shin and into the net for 1-0.

Coach Sabella decided to leave Gonzalo Higuaín on the bench, as the Napoli striker continues to recover from an ankle injury. The change has led to an alteration in tactics: Hugo Campagnaro enters to form a five-man defence as the 'Albiceleste' lined up in a 5-3-2 formation.

The reduced strikeforce could be seen in a reticient Argentine performance in the first half, as despite the goal the team appeared reluctant to push forward. Bosnia, meanwhile, caused the defence various problems through Edin Dzeko, with goalkeeper Sergio Romero called into action during the opening 45 minutes.

But after bringing on Higuaín and Fernando Gago, an improvement could be seen in their offensive movement. Messi doubled the advantage as he streaked forward from near the halfway line, combining with 'Pipita' and firing low to hit his first World Cup goal since 2006.

There was to be one final scare for the South Americans, when Vedad Ibisevic pulled Bosnia back within one goal. But Argentina stayed firm, and playing far below their best kicked off their Brazil 2014 campaign with a vital win.
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Tags:  Sabella  Argentina  World Cup  Bosnia  





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