Messi’s disappointments with Argentina

first_imgWidely considered one of the greatest players ever, the Barcelona star is still looked upon unfavourably by many in his homeland compared with Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986.Messi turned 31 last week and his best chance of ending Argentina’s 25-year wait to win a major tournament may now be gone.Here, AFP Sport looks at Messi’s biggest disappointments with Argentina.World Cup 2018Messi’s World Cup got off to the worst possible start when he missed a penalty in Argentina’s opening game, which ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw with tournament debutants Iceland.He was then largely bypassed in a 3-0 thrashing by Croatia that put Argentina on the brink of an embarrassing group-stage exit.Messi did ride to their rescue with a superb opening goal to help squeeze past Nigeria 2-1 to set up the meeting with France.But despite setting up two of his side’s three goals, Messi could only watch from afar as 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe exposed Argentina’s fragile defence by scoring twice and winning a penalty in a seven-goal thriller in Kazan to announce himself as a potential successor to Messi as a global superstar.Copa America Centenario 2016Not prone to showing his emotions, Messi sobbed uncontrollably after blasting his penalty over the bar as Argentina lost a second Copa America final in as many years in a shootout to Chile.In the aftermath, with emotions running high, Messi announced his retirement from international football on the back of three final defeats in three consecutive years.“I’ve done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion,” Messi said at the time.What might have been: Lionel Messi reacts to losing the 2014 World Cup final to Germany © AFP/File / ODD ANDERSENLess than two months later he reversed that decision. “We need to fix many things in Argentinian football, but I prefer to do this from inside and not criticise from outside,” he said.Messi almost single-handedly carried Argentina through a troubled qualifying campaign, but that ultimately only delayed another bitter disappointment.World Cup 2014The first of those three final defeats came on the biggest stage of all and by the finest of margins in Brazil four years ago.Messi scored four goals and converted his spot-kick in a semi-final shootout against the Netherlands to lead Argentina to a first World Cup final in 24 years.However, at the end of a rare injury-plagued season at Barcelona, he was limited to short bursts of energy to try and change games and ultimately ran out of steam in a 1-0 extra-time defeat by Germany.Messi had one great chance that he would normally bury on his left foot that slipped just wide, but even winning the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament did little to dim the pain of getting so close to the holy grail of following in Maradona’s footsteps.World Cup 2010Fresh from being crowned as the world’s best player for the first time, Messi arrived in South Africa as the star attraction of a top-heavy Argentina under Maradona’s management.Diego Maradona consoles Lionel Messi after Argentina lost 4-0 to Germany in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals © AFP/File / JAVIER SORIANOEarly on, the Albiceleste’s sheer firepower proved too much as they eased past Nigeria, South Korea and Greece in the group stage before beating Mexico 3-1 in the last 16.Messi failed to get on the scoresheet, but was still pulling the strings for Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero.Yet, Maradona’s lack of tactical nous was finally exposed as a young Germany side that would reach its peak four years later ran riot 4-0 in the quarter-finals in Cape Town.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Another day to forget: Lionel Messi’s last chance to win a World Cup may have gone © AFP / Roman KruchininSAINT PETERSBURG, Russian Federation, Jun 30 – Five-time world player of the year Lionel Messi suffered more World Cup heartbreak with Argentina on Saturday, unable to match France’s firepower in a thrilling 4-3 World Cup last-16 tie.Messi only scored once in Russia and is still yet to net in the knockout stages of a World Cup.last_img read more

Indian bowlers skittle out defensive Sri Lanka for 205

first_imgBy Kushan Sarkar Nagpur, Nov 24 (PTI) Skipper Virat Kohlis decision to play only four specialist bowlers was vindicated as India bundled out a defensive Sri Lanka for a paltry 205 on the opening day of the second cricket Test, here today. At stumps, India were 11 for 1 with KL Rahul (7) back in the pavilion, being played on to a Lahiru Gamage delivery. With no demons on a sporting track where stroke-play wasn?t too difficult, the visitors never got going as spinners Ravichandran Ashwin (4/67) and Ravindra Jadeja (3/56) along with comeback-man Ishant Sharma (3/37) shared the spoils. After the completion of first innings, Ashwin now has 296 wickets in his 54th Test. He will get another innings in this game plus the Delhi Test to get the remaining four scalps and break Dennis Lillees (56 Test) record fastest to 300 wickets. Sri Lanka were 160 for four at one stage during the final session looking good enough to stage a fightback before a batting collapse saw them lose six wickets for only 45 runs. Their batsmen were ultra-defensive in their approach during the first session on a Jamtha track which had good bounce and carry but was far from the menacing green-top that was on offer at the Eden Gardens during the first Test match. The lack of intent to get going in the second and third sessions affected their performance with only skipper Dinesh Chandimal (57) looked like in control till he was at the crease. The other batsman with notable contribution was opener Dimuth Karunaratne, who was twice lucky in the first session — being dropped once and stumped off a no-ball another time, but still he could not fully capitalize on the reprieves getting out for 51 in the post-lunch session. The immensely talented Niroshan Dickwella (24) committed hara-kiri when things were starting to look up during the post tea-session. He tried to whip Jadeja through mid-wicket and the ball ballooned up for Ishant to take a simple catch at mid-off. The trio of Ishant, Ashwin and Jadeja did not bowl anything exceptional but their unwavering consistency saw the Lankans buckle under pressure. The best delivery undoubtedly was the one that Ashwin got Dasun Shanaka (2) with. Ashwin had previous bowled an off- break that made him uncomfortable and then fired an angular delivery that looked more like a leg-break clipping the off- stump. Ishant, who normally bowls back of the length mixed it up with good full length deliveries that got him the wickets while Jadeja?s armers proved to be very effective. He was instrumental in dislodging the stodgy Karunaratne, who had by then already played 147 deliveries, hitting six boundaries. His skipper Chandimal would have expected Karunaratne to help him in conjure a bigger partnership than the 62 runs that they added for the fourth wicket. Ishant finally sent the dogged Karunaratne back with a delivery that looked to have straightened after pitching. Karunaratne went for DRS but the replays showed that the delivery would have hit the off-stump. Chandimal showed more intent than his teammates to get the scoreboard moving, hitting four boundaries and a down the ground six off Jadeja. Courtesy Chandimal, Sri Lanka managed to score 104 runs in 32 overs during the post-lunch session, losing a couple of wickets. All the hardwork was undone in the post tea session after Dickwella?s dismissal. It also affected Chandimal?s confidence as he was not the same player again. Opting to bat, opener Sadeera Samarawickrama (13) and one down Lahiru Thirimanne (9) were out during the first session, where the visiting team went into a shell with a safety-first ploy in the 27 overs bowled during the period. Ishant, playing his first Test since the home series against Australia, bowled his customary back of the length stuff with an occasional fuller delivery. He set up opener Samarawickrama with a delivery that was on fifth stump. The right handed opener rightly left it but the very next delivery was fuller, angled in at a drivable length. The batsman took the bait and the thick outside edge was pouched by Cheteshwar Pujara at first slip. The seasoned Thirimanne was in a defensive mode from the start as his 58-ball stay at the crease would suggest. So intent he was on defending that he tried to play an ugly sweep shot to a Ravichandran Ashwin delivery that hardly turned and missed the line completely to get bowled. PTI KHS AT ATadvertisementlast_img read more