Lionel Messi's FIFA World Cup and International Career
Lionel Messi - 2014 FIFA World Cup - adidas Golden Ball
Lionel Messi has been declared the best player of the 2014 World Cup and was awarded the 2014 World Cup Golden Ball. The Argentine collected the trophy in the aftermath of his side's narrow defeat to Germany in the tournament's final, and understandably didn't look too consoled by his prize.
Messi scored 4 goals at 2014 FIFA World Cup to lead Argentina into the Finals. Where they deserved the win or at least penalty shoot out!
Lionel Messi was by far the best player at the 2014 FIFA World Cup!!!
Lionel Messi's International Career
Often referred to as an Argentine-Spanish player, this crossover was brought into sharp focus when in 2004, Lionel was offered the chance to play for the Spanish national U-20 team. He declined the offer given his Argentinian heritage, and was given the opportunity to play for Argentina's U-20 team in a friendly match against Paraguay in June 2004. Messi scored once against Paraguay and twice in friendly against Uruguay in July 2004. In 2005 he was part of a team that finished 3rd in 2005 South American Youth Championship in Colombia. He won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands with the team and won the Golden Ball and the Golden Shoe, scoring in the last 4 of Argentina's matches and netting a total of 6 for the tournament.
He made his full international debut on 17 August 2005 against Hungary at the age of 18. He was substituted on during the 63rd minute, but was sent off on the 65th minute because the referee, Markus Merk, claimed that Messi had allegedly elbowed defender Vilmos Vanczák, who was tugging Messi's shirt. The decision was contentious and Diego Maradona even claimed the decision was pre-meditated. Messi was later reportedly found weeping in the changing rooms after the decision. Messi returned to the team on 3 September in Argentina's 1–0 World Cup qualifier away defeat to Paraguay. Ahead of the match he had said "This is a re-debut. The first one was a bit short." He then started his 1st game for Argentina against Peru, in which he was able to win a crucial penalty for Argentina; after the match national coach José Pekerman described Messi as "a jewel". He scored his first goal for Argentina in a friendly match against Croatia on 1 March 2006.
Lionel Messi - 2006 FIFA World Cup
An injury that kept Messi from playing for 2 months at the end of the 2005–06 season jeopardized his presence in the 2006 World Cup. Nevertheless, Messi was selected in the Argentina squad for the tournament on 15 May 2006. He also played in the final match before the World Cup against the Argentine U-20 team for 15 minutes and a friendly match against Angola from the 64th minute. He witnessed Argentina's opening match victory against Ivory Coast from the substitutes' bench. In the next match against Serbia and Montenegro, Messi became the youngest player to represent Argentina at a World Cup when he came on as a substitute for Maxi Rodríguez in the 74th minute. He assisted Hernán Crespo's goal within minutes of entering the game and also scored the final goal in the 6–0 victory, making him the youngest scorer in the tournament and the sixth youngest goalscorer in the history of the World Cup. Messi started in Argentina's following 0–0 draw against the Netherlands. In the following game against Mexico, Messi came on as a substitute in the 84th minute, with the score tied at 1–1. He appeared to score a goal, but it was ruled offside with Argentina needing a late goal in extra time to proceed. José Pekerman left Messi on the bench during the quarter-final match against Germany, which they lost 4–2 on a penalty shootout.
Lionel Messi - 2007 Copa América
Messi played his 1st game in the 2007 Copa América on 29 June 2007, when Argentina defeated United States 4–1 in the 1st game. In this game, he showed his capabilities as a playmaker. He set up a goal for fellow striker Hernán Crespo and had numerous shots on target. Carlos Tevez came on as a substitute for Messi in the 79th minute and scored minutes later.
His second game was against Colombia, in which he won a penalty that Crespo converted to tie the game at 1–1. He also played a part in Argentina's 2nd goal as he was fouled outside the box, which allowed Juan Roman Riquelme to score from a free kick, and increase Argentina's lead to 3–1. The final score of the game was 4–2 in Argentina's favor and guaranteed them a spot in the tournament's quarter-finals.
In the 3rd game, against Paraguay the coach rested Messi having already qualified for the quarter-finals. He came off the bench in place of Esteban Cambiasso in the 64th minute, with the score at 0–0. In the 79th minute, he assisted a goal for Javier Mascherano. In the quarter-finals, as Argentina faced Peru, Messi scored the 2nd goal of the game, from a Riquelme pass in a 4–0 win. During the semi-final match against Mexico, Messi scored a lob over Oswaldo Sánchez to see Argentina through to the final with a 3–0 win. Argentina went on to lose 3–0 to Brazil in the final. Messi was elected young player of the tournament.
Lionel Messi - 2008 Summer Olympics
Having barred Messi from playing for Argentina in the 2008 Olympics, Barcelona agreed to release him after he held talks with newly appointed coach Pep Guardiola. He joined the Argentina squad and scored the 1st goal in a 2–1 victory over Ivory Coast. He then scored the opening goal and assisted Ángel di María in the 2nd to help his side to a 2–1 extra-time win against the Netherlands. He also featured in Argentina's match against rivals Brazil, in which Argentina took a 3–0 victory, thus advancing to the final. In the gold medal match, Messi again assisted Di María for the only goal in a 1–0 victory over Nigeria.
Lionel Messi - 2010 FIFA World Cup
On 28 March 2009, in a World Cup Qualifier against Venezuela, Messi wore the number 10 jersey for the first time with Argentina. This match was the 1st official match for Diego Maradona as the Argentina manager. Argentina won the match 4–0 with Messi opening the scoring. Overall, Messi scored 4 goals in 18 appearances during the South American 2010 World Cup qualifying process.
For the 2010 World Cup, Messi wore the number 10 shirt for the 1st time in a major tournament. Messi played the entire game on Argentina's opening match in the 2010 World Cup, the 1–0 victory against Nigeria. He had several opportunities to score but was repeatedly denied by Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who was named man of the match by FIFA. Messi started in Argentina's following 4–1 win against Korea Republic; he played in more of an attacking midfielder and playmaking role under Maradona, and participated in all of the goals of his team, helping Gonzalo Higuaín score a hat-trick. In the 3rd group match, Messi was named captain for Argentina in a 2–0 win over Greece. He was again the centrepoint of Argentina's play, playing an important role in both of his team's goals, and was voted man of the match.
At the Round of 16 he assisted Carlos Tevez for the first goal in a 3–1 win against Mexico. The World Cup ended for Argentina with a 4–0 loss against Germany in the quarter-finals.
Messi was nominated in ten player shortlist for Golden Ball award by FIFA Technical Study Group. The group identified Messi with the following words: "Outstanding in his pace and creativity for his team, dribbling, shooting, passing – spectacular and efficient".
Lionel Messi - 2011 Copa América and 2014 World Cup Qualifying
On 17 November 2010, Messi scored a last-minute goal against South American rivals Brazil after an individual effort to help his team to a 1–0 win in the friendly match, which was held in Doha. This was the first time that he had scored against Brazil at senior level. Messi scored another last-minute goal on 9 February 2011 against Portugal from a penalty kick which gave his side a 2–1 victory in the friendly match, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland. He had also previously assisted the first goal.
Messi took part in the 2011 Copa América in Argentina, where he failed to score a goal but made three assists, finishing as the joint top assist provider of the tournament. He was selected as man of the match in the group matches against Bolivia (1–1) and Costa Rica (3–0). Argentina were eliminated in the quarter-finals in a penalty shoot-out against the eventual winners of the Copa América, Uruguay (1–1 a.e.t.), with Messi scoring as the first penalty taker. Messi had also previously assisted Higuaín's equaliser in the seventeenth minute.
After Argentina's unsuccessful performance in the Copa América, Sergio Batista was replaced as Argentina coach with Alejandro Sabella. In August 2011, Sabella named Messi as the new permanent captain of the Argentina national team.
Messi's first hat-trick for the Albiceleste came in a friendly match against Switzerland, on 29 February 2012, in a 3–1 win for Argentina.
On 9 June 2012, Messi scored his second international hat-trick in a friendly match against rivals Brazil, including the match winner. The match ended 4–3 to Argentina and Messi was voted man of the match. This brought his international goalscoring tally up to 26 goals in 70 matches, and brought his 2012 tally up to 7 goals in 3 matches. This was also his record-breaking 82nd goal of the season, including all club and international matches. These goals also made him the fourth-highest goalscorer for the Argentinian national team.
On 7 September, Messi scored his 28th goal for Argentina in a 3–1 victory against Paraguay in a 2014 World Cup qualifying match, sending them to the top of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table. This was his fourth goal in the current World Cup qualifying campaign and his eighth overall in World Cup qualifying matches, making him the third-highest scorer for Argentina in World Cup qualifying matches. This was also his tenth goal for Argentina in the past six matches and his ninth in five matches played in 2012. After scoring twice against Uruguay and once against Chile in October, Messi finished 2012 with 12 goals in nine appearances for Argentina.
On 22 March 2013, Messi scored his first international goal of 2013 from the penalty spot in a World Cup qualifier against Venezuela. In the same match he provided two assists for Gonzalo Higuaín as Argentina won 3–0. On 14 June 2013, Messi scored a hat-trick in a 4–0 friendly win against Guatemala, surpassing Diego Maradona's 34 goals on Argentina's all-time top scorer's list and matching Hernán Crespo for second with 35 goals. Messi surpassed Crespo's tally in the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Paraguay, scoring two goals from penalties as well as providing an assist for Sergio Agüero. The match finished 5–2 to Argentina, ensuring their qualification for the 2014 World Cup with two matches at hand.
Messi ended the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign as second-top scorer in the South American section with ten goals