Heading into the World Cup, it didn’t take a genius to figure that Argentina’s chances of a deep run in Brazil rested on the shoulders of Lionel Messi.
The pressure probably hasn’t been higher on one of the game’s greatest players heading into this tournament. Coming off an injury-plagued, disappointing campaign at Barcelona (at least by the club’s ridiculously high standards), at 27 years old, this might just be the best chance of securing that ever-elusive World Cup title.
And what better place to accomplish that feat than at a tournament hosted by their arch-rivals Brazil? A common refrain echoed through the Argentine camp that often resonates prior to major competitions: they’ve got a bunch of good players and Messi, therefore, they could win it, right?
Through three games, Argentina hasn’t separated itself from the pack, but neither has it damaged its chances either. Nine points, four goals from Messi, punctuated by Wednesday’s display against Nigeria — his best performance to date.