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World Cup Finals 2014
Match of the Day Live: Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina
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With so many top players playing around the world, it shouldn’t make a difference whether a World Cup is held in South America, Europe or anywhere else. But it does. History tells you it does: Spain were the first team since Brazil to win a World Cup not held on their continent.
Which is why the Argentinians are undoubtedly one of the favourites this year. South American sides are known for their flair, their determination, but Argentina’s squad this year has so many other footballing qualities, too. Defender Pablo Zabaleta is instrumental for Manchester City, while Angel Di Maria has been incredible for Real Madrid this season.
Bosnia-Herzegovina have some surprisingly decent players too, Man City’s Edin Dzeko being the stand-out name. It’s a formidable challenge for their first World Cup finals match, but that’s why you want to play in World Cups.
And then there is Messi. Lionel Messi has scored 37 international goals in 83 appearances, a phenomenal record, but he’s never really done it at a major tournament. After an injury-affected season he should light up this year’s World Cup. Then we could safely call him the world’s greatest – possibly even the greatest there’s ever been. Seven magic games are all it takes.
Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina (Kick-off 11.00pm). Coverage of the opening World Cup Group F match for both sides, which takes place at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Bosnians are the only country making their debut World Cup finals appearance during this tournament, something that has not happened since Brazil last served as hosts in 1950, when England were the only debutants. Despite only gaining independence as a nation from Yugoslavia in 1992, Bosnia have faced Argentina on two previous occasions, both in friendly matches, losing 5-0 in Cordoba in 1998 and 2-0 in St Louis last November. Despite that recent loss on neutral territory, they will expect to perform much better in their first fixture at a major international competition, after winning eight of their 10 qualifying matches, and scoring 30 goals in the process. However, they begin the tournament by facing one of the favourites for success, with Argentina having topped the standings in the South American qualifying campaign, with a squad that boasts one of the games most skilful players in Lionel Messi. Presented by Gary Lineker, with commentary by Steve Wilson and Mark Lawrenson.
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