Lionel Messi once again came to the rescue of Argentina against Iran by scoring a goal in the injury-time to seal the match 1-0. In an exclusive chat with Aditi Tyagi of Zee Media, former Indian skipper Baichung Bhutia analysed the match and praised the gritty Iran for their outstanding play.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Can we say that without Lionel Messi, result of the match against Iran would have been different?
Yes. Messi once gain showed his magic in the dying minutes and that`s why he is known as the best footballer in the world. He proved that he can win matches single-handedly. Though, Argentina got enough chances to score goals, they failed to convert them. Iranian goalkeeper did a fabulous job in the match. The only shot he missed was the one in which Messi scored a goal in the extra time. Ángel di María also created many chances but Argentina missed them all. I think Iran should have been given a penalty as well, which referee missed completely. So you can say that even referee also supported Argentina in some way or the other.
Do you also feel that though Iran lost the game, they managed to win the hearts?
Definitely. Iran defended really well. They surprised me with their performance, especially in the second half. The way all the 11 players came in their half to stop Argentina from scoring a goal was really outstanding. They gave everything. Against an attacking side like Argentina, it`s quite a task to stop them from scoring.
Do you think now Messi is coming out of the shadow of Diego Maradona, as he has started scoring goals for his country?
Till the time Messi doesn`t win the World Cup trophy for Argentina, I don`t think Argentine fans will put him under the bracket of Maradona, who single-handedly won a World Cup for his country.
Do you think like 1986 World Cup, where Maradona carried the weight of the entire team, Messi is in the same situation this time around?
In one way you can say that. That time, Maradona was the only big name in the team and here as well Messi is the only one. Though this team has few well known players in Di Maria and Sergio Aguero but in the last two matches, they haven`t played up to their reputation. In the first two matches, Messi was the one who won the matches for Argentina.
What you have to say about Miroslav Klose, who equalled the world record of `original` Ronaldo by scoring his 15th World Cup goal?
Yes it`s the biggest record. Klose is 36, not too young, even then he scored a goal at crucial time when his team was 2-1 down to level the score. He is very opportunist, when it comes to scoring goals. He has an amazing sense of how to score. So, I guess he might remain among the top goal scorers in this World Cup.