Tostao, the Brazilian legend, advised the Selecao the other day, “Your plan A should be to pass the ball to Neymar. And the Plan B is, pass it to Neymar again!”
No Argentine legend has come up with a similar idea for his side. But the players themselves appeared to be aware of their Plan C: pass the ball to Lionel Messi!
Neymar celebrates his goal against Chile. PIC/PTI
“Messidependencia” and “Neymania” have been the words for Argentina and Brazil in the 2014 World Cup.
So far, Neymar has scored four of Brazil’s eight goals. Matches decided via tie-breakers are treated as draws by FIFA.
Even the goals are not included in the scorers’ account. As a result, the coolest of penalties taken by Neymar against Chile has not been included. Following the all-important and decisive fifth penalty by Neymar, Brazilain head coach Felipao Scolari admitted in the post-match press conference, “He is 22 only, but plays with the maturity of a 35-year old footballer. He is amazing and has been ready since he was 18.”
LM 10 rules
LM 10, as Messi is fondly called by his fans, has scored four and played a major part in Angel di Maria’s last gasp winner in the first knockout round against Switzerland on Tuesday. If we add the own goal netted by Kolasniac of Bosnia which resulted from a free kick taken by Messi, he has had a hand in six of his team’s seven goals.
Over-reliance on a single player could never be explained so easily by any other statistic!
His coach Alejandro Sabella, had no doubt about the ‘dependence’ issue either. “He is the best footballer of this generation. When you have Lio Messi in the side, you are bound to rely on him. Lio is to us what Diego (Maradona) was to the 1986 Argentina team.”