After achieving almost everything at FC Barcelona, Messi aims to cement his legacy for Argentina as they begin their World Cup campaign today
South American giants Argentina will start their 2014 World Cup campaign against Bosnia-Herzegovina today at the historic Maracana Stadium — the venue of Brazil's heartbreaking 1950 World Cup loss to Uruguay.
Argentina's Lionel Messi during a training session at Independencia Stadium in Belo Horizonte earlier in the week. Pic/AFP
That defeat — popularly known as the 'Maracanazo' — still rankles for most Brazilians even after 64 years and five World Cup titles. It was the last match of the second stage group, wrongly referred to as the 'final', between Brazil and Uruguay.
Brazil needed a point to be declared the world champions. But they lost 1-2 — thanks to goals from Schiaffino and Alcides Ghizzia.
Brazilian legend Pele earlier this week said that he would rather watch Brazil take on Uruguay, their vanquishers in that fateful 1950 tournament in the final, this year than the prospect of playing against arch-rivals Argentina. However, a certain Lionel Messi might have other ideas.
The onus will be on Messi to inspire his team to win the cup after 28 long years. And like the Brazilians are obsessed about the defeat at Maracana, the four-time Ballon d'Or winner is now obsessed about winning the cup for the Albiceleste — having endured an uncharacteristic barren career with the national team bar th Beijing Olympics gold in 2008.
Wait till the July 13, the day of the 2014 World Cup final at this same but renovated venue, to know whether Messi can be the new 'Ghizzia' for the Brazilians — if both South American sides make it to the final, that is!
Number of goals Lionel Messi has scored for Argentina in 86 matches