Messi magic inspires Argentina

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jun 16, 2021
  • Lionel Messi created and scored one goal against Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Photo Courtesy Fifa)

  • Karim Benzema beats Emilio Izaguirre of Honduras at Estadio Beira-Rio. France won 3-0. (Photo Courtesy Fifa)

Lionel Messi created one goal and scored a brilliant second as Argentina kicked off their campaign with a 2-1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina at the iconic Maracana Stadium.

Bosnia/Herzegovina shot themselves in the foot scoring the fastest goal in the tournaments history. It was an own goal by left back Sead Kolisinac.

The goal came from a free kick by Messi. The goal did little to dampen the spirits of Bosnia/Herzegovina who came close through Izet Hajrovic and Senad Lulic.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella made two substitutions but it was Messi who sparkled.

The Argentina captain bursted purposefully forward from midfield, worked an incisive one-two with Higuain, skipped around Ermin Bicakcic and curled a perfect left-foot shot low into the net off the inside of Begovic's right-hand post.

However, the debutants did at least ensure a dramatic finale when Vedad Ibisevic raced through and squeezed a left-foot shot between the legs of Romero with five minutes remaining.

France 3 Honduras 0

Karim Benzema scored two goals to get France off to a winning start by beating Honduras 3-0. The win by Les Bleus over a 10-man Honduras saw them top Pool E.

Honduras were reduced to 10 men after Wilson Palacio was red-carded in the 43rd minute for a foul on Paul Pogba. Benzema made no mistake from the spot sending Noel Valladares, the Honduran goalkeeper the wrong way.

Valladares who was brilliant in goal became the villain when he scored an own goal spilling the ball over the line from a Benzema volley.

The Real Madrid man had the final laugh when he hit a powerful rebound after Mathieu Debuchy was denied by Valladares. The Honduran goalkeeper blocked the ball which fell on Benzema’s feet. He had all the time to pick his spot and make it 3-0.

France face Switzerland who were lucky to beat Ecuador 2-1. Honduras will be up against Ecuador.

Switzerland 2 Ecuador 1

Substitute Haris Seferovic scored a goal in the third minute of added time which saw Switzerland edge out Ecuador 2-1.

The super sub who plays for Real Sociadad came on in the 75th minute on the instructions of Otmar Hitzfeld, a former coach of German side Bayern Munich.

After the match, he told Fifa.com: "It fell to me today just like it did at the U-17 World Cup, but I just want to play and keep scoring goals, not only decisive ones." The player said he was even more delighted with the goal on Sunday night than with his trophy-winning strike five years ago.

"Let's face it, this is the real World Cup and the level is much higher, much better, and everything is much quicker."

They are up against France who upstage Honduras 3-0. "We have more courage and pride and we'll go into the match with a lot of confidence. We're not scared of the French," Seferovic declared.

The player dedicated the match-winning strike to his father, “because it's his birthday today and he has always been there for me."

Next matches, Monday: Germany v Portugal, Iran v Nigeria, Ghana v USA. 

Compiled from Fifa.com