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Well, it’s coming up to eleven o’clock on a Sunday night here in England, and this is, of course, the ideal time to schedule our first look at the Argentina side that many are tipping to go a long way in this tournament. On the flip side, their opponents this evening will be making their first World Cup appearance and will be looking to grab an upset here.
A lot of the pressure will be heaped on Argentinian star man Lionel Messi and the Barcelona maestro will hope to steal the show on football’s biggest stage for the first time. His previous 571 minutes of World Cup football has only harboured one goal but his form at club level means he has the capability to do something fantastic in Brazil. There were no major issues in qualifying as they finished top of the South American section ahead of fellow finalists Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay. Argentina have an all start cast of attacking talent – in the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi – but their defensive talent shouldn’t be overlooked. The two-time winners have won nine of their last 12 World Cup group games and only conceded four goals during that time.
Bosnia meanwhile, taking their bow in the finals, come into this game off the back of two fantastic friendly wins against Ivory Coast and Mexico who have both also qualified for the tournament. Their plane tickets to Brazil were secured in a thrilling race for top spot in European Qualifying Group G. Finally finishing ahead of Greece on goal difference thanks to a 1-0 victory over Lithuania in their final match. There are many reasons to be confident of their chances to make an impact. Premier League followers know all about Asmir Begovic’s quality in goal for Stoke, playmaker Miralem Pjanic has enjoyed an impressive campaign for much-improved Roma and Edin Dzeko leads the line with quality and ability. Bosnia could spring a surprise, not only tonight, but in the tournament itself.
In fact, Richard was so confident in their chance that he thinks this game could be a contender for “game of the groups” – if not the tournament. However, that was before the Costa Rica result yesterday and the white-washing of Spain.
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Bosnia can certainly get out of this group.
They played well against a team with quite a few “superstars”. Most of which they contained for large period’s of time
Yeah, the timing of these late kick-off games is a bit of a pain.
Bosnia suddenly came to life over the last five minutes – since scoring – but haven’t looked like grabbing another one.
And it’s all over. Half the planet can now go to sleep.
FULL TIME: Argentina narrowly shade it 2-1 against a spirited, if limited, Bosnia & Herzegovina team. On tonight’s showing, all is very much not lost for the Europeans with Iran and Nigeria left to play. Argentina, on the other hand, have some way still to go. As do I. The rag and bone man has just had my bed away.
God love the World Cup and everything, but I can’t wait to get to bed. I’m going to be pumping zeds out.
Angel Di Maria – a very fine player indeed – has played tonight like a hamster inside a ball, rattling round inside a broken pisspot.
It’s safe to say that Argentina have looked a little average tonight. There’ve been some big name players who’ve been fairly anonymous throughout and some of them have absolutely Jonathan Pearced it.
As I type that, Ibisevic squeezes a shot through Jim Flapper with six minutes to play. 2-1, and I am finally proven right about something in this wretched tournament.
Ibisevic has grabbed one back tucking a through ball between the legs of the Flapper. Their first ever goal in tte World Cup finals.
Interesting moments ahead.
Every Bosnian cross this half has been beaten away by the first defender. Looking deflated now with around 10 minutes left (including injury time)
the beauty of the pantomime cow is that it has two people in it, but wears just the one shirt. Cow-size.
I vote for the pantomime cow.
Up the other end, Edin Dzeko has played as well as any man can when he’s not had the ball at any stage.
Considering the speed at which Messi moves when he’s in full flow, at walking pace he looks like a man walking home after shitting himself at the bus stop. It’s almost as if he’s so highly evolved to play football that walking is beyond him.
Mark Lawrenson has probably had his least monotone game tonight.
Aguero makes a powerful run and shoots just wide of the goal. It’s 3-0, if you’re Jonathan Pearce.
There’s a flurry of substitutions now but the fire seems to have left Bosnia & Herzegovina’s belly. The only possible solution would be to bring on a pantomime cow.
Messi’s feet move so quickly.
Messi’s a great player, obviously, but I find the collective masturbatathon over him to be pretty nauseating.
Visca has also come on for Hajrovic. He has had a good game but Visca is a winger at heart and should provide much needed width.
A change now for Bosnia. Ibisevic on to add another man up top.
Think that was the intention before the second goal.
Bosnia look like they’re about to make a change to bring on an extra forward. They look a little bit shocked by what just happened.
Almost three there from Aguero and we can comfortably say that Argentina have found another gear after that goal.
The striking thing about Messi is always the speed at which he operates. Just imagine what Maradona could have done if he’d had one or two more isotonic sports drinks and one or two fewer cocaines.
Messi makes it 2-0 after a quick one-two with Aguero. Just had the extra zip to beat the Bosnian defence. Goes in off the inside of the left post.
That’s probably your lot. One moment of magic from Messi and it’s 2-0. Boy’s a bit special.
Over the bar by some margin.
Maybe these two centre forwards are what Lionel needed afterall
Spahic booked for a lunge on Aguero. Freekick to Argentina and it’s in Messi territory.
Messi is showing some signs of coming to life. Bosnia & Herzegovina are starting to look caught between a rock and a hard place.
Game getting stretched now.
Messi picks up the ball just outside of the Bosnia area and jumps forward, the ball finds it’s way to Aguero but his shot is comfortable for Begovic to hold.
Guess where Messi is?
Yep, halfway line still.
I love that Bosnia are the ‘flavour of choice’ tonight.
The prospect of hearing the sound of 60,000 Brazilians cheering a Bosnian equaliser is enough to keep everyone out of their beddie byes for another 40 minutes.
Bosnia have emerged for the second half pleasingly similar to the way they left the first. Game remains very much on.
Hajrovic takes a direct freekick but Romero is equal to it – as the shot ended up being straight at him.
Argentina have made two tactical substitutions, including Higuain. Messi should now be able to find himself some more space. Otherwise his status could be downgraded from “Maradona” to “Hoddle”.
Gago has also come on for Campagnaro
The teams have just come back out for the second half. Higuain is on for Maxi Rodriguez.
Bosnia get us going again.
I’d love to see who lasts longer between Neil Lennon and Gordon Strachan in the midday Brazilian sunshine.
Half time. Argentina lead 1-0 but they’re fortunate to do so.
So we’re going in at half time. Argentina still leading by one after that third minute own goal. Bosnia have grown into this as the first half has gone on. Cool, calm and collected; they can feel a little hard done by that some bad luck means the scores aren’t level.
The festival nature of Brazil 2014 is even having an effect on normally steadfast grouch Mark Lawrenson. At times you could almost think from the tone of his voice that he was even enjoying being paid to watch Argentina play in the Maracana.
Dzeko looks like a Giant next to these Argentines.
Jim Flapper gets down very well to make a smart save from Lulic’s header after a Bosnia corner. Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero’s haircut has been downgraded from “daft” to “shite”.
That was almost the header you were expecting Ted
Most of the touches Messi has had over the last 10 minutes have been on or around the half way line.
Bosnia are just being kept at arm’s length, but it feels a lot like if they could just get one decent half chance to test Jim Flapper in the Argentina goal they could level things up. It would be no more than they deserve.
Aguero’s shorts are billowing out at the bottom, like Windsor Davies in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum
Pjanic is working tirelessly all over the pitch. Had a great season with Roma and looks to be continuing his fine form.
And when he does pick it up, he’s trying to do too much with it.
Dzeko just spoons a shot over the bar.
Bosnia have really grown into this whole World Cup thing. Its become a very even game. The Europeans are well organised and their ability to get up and down the pitch as a team is causing the Argentina squad to make some rushed decisions. They have made Aguero almost completely anonymous. Messi is also having to come deep to pick the ball up.
The unwillingness of British sports commentators to acknowledge the possibility that teams from the former Yugoslavia might be any good at football always maddens me. Yugoslavia tended to be able to play a bit.
See also: Slovakia at the 2010 World Cup.
Zabaleta doesn’t like strong left backs. Kolasinic is proving that tonight.
Kolasinic, the scorer of the own goal, has bounced back well and is playing strongly. Perhaps he heard Jonathan Pearce’s commentary on the France – Honduras match and was able to put the mare he was having tonight into perspective.
Quarter of the game down now and Bosnia certainly aren’t rolling over.
It is a very good point. Messi can dictate an attack and get forward himself. But he does seem to need activity around him.
If Argentina do well in this World Cup it won’t be because of a sturdy defence.
What I’m essentially saying is, whatever happened to Jorge Burruchaga?
An interesting point made by the BBC commentary team: Messi generally tends to thrive when he’s playing behind two centre forwards. Today he finds himself leading the line. But with Higuain injured, and the tendency towards taking fewer and fewer strikers that has dominated this year’s tournament (Germany, for instance, have only taken two), will Argentina have the tactical flexibility to give them the option to play Messi as a false nine (urgh *spit spit spit*)?
The BBC are very hung up on Messi’s goalscoring record this evening. The three time Ballon D’or winner does more than just score.
The game has very much come to life, and it’s all thanks to Bosnia’s players refusing to be cowed by their Argentinian opposition. And why should they be? The early own goal has spurred them on.
Hajrovic is left to fly past the Argentina defence. Sadly his toe-poke hits Romero before the ball is cleared.
Not sure the Keeper knew much about that.
Bosnia have just had their first real spell of possession and you can see their plan is to work the ball quickly down the wings. If they can get some crosses in Dzeko could certainly hurt this Argentinian back three.
Especially with a dodgy keeper between the posts
Bosnia nearly catch Argentina napping with their first corner, but Sergio Romero manages to flap the ball clear. All three of Argentina’s goalkeepers are fairly suspect: the first choice has played just two club games all season, his understudy had a better domestic run but his team were relegated. Shooting on sight could prove a viable tactic.
Hajrovic looks like a young Miroslav Klose
The defender didn’t know much about that. Bosnia have barely touched the ball yet with five minutes played.
Dzeko certainly hasn’t had the ball.
Argentina 1-0 Bosnia & Herzegovina after just three minutes. Our quest for a goalless draw at this World Cup continues.
Bosnia & Herzegovina’s first World Cup game gets off to a fairly patchy start, as Messi’s free kick bobbles off of the defender’s heel. It was probably a tough enough ask for Bosnia to get something out of the game tonight without that. Maybe Bosnia just fancy a good run up?
Early free kick from the left for the South Americans and Argentina are ahead after a deflection by defender Kolasinac
Argentina get the game started.
So we’ll be watching blue against light blue and white strips. That won’t ruin my eye… much
I take it back already that’s pretty much White only from Argentina
The Bosnia contingent look so happy to be here. Bloody ecstatic for them!
All 2014 World Cup Finals matches are classics, so this will surely be no different. In your face, fate.
Evening Ted, fancy a cracker here tonight (hopefully that comment doesn’t Jinx it)
Argentina in white shorts doesn’t seem right, somehow.
Good evening, sport lovers.
So we’re 15 minutes away from Bosnia-Herzegovina’s first ever World Cup game. They have had a fantastic rise in the international football scene since they gained independence nearly 20 years ago.
Their opponents tonight are without Higuain, due to injury, but their front line of Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi shouldn’t mean that they miss him too much.
Both will be looking to get off to a good start and each of their Manchester City strikers will be hoping to ruin their counterpart club team-mates night.
Almost didn’t find this, for some reason it’s not on top of the first page, I have to scroll down, it’s the fourth post.
Sorry MD! Seem the initial drafting had kept its creation time. Glad you found it.
I agreed muchly with this part:
“Ian 10 hours ago
Messi’s a great player, obviously, but I find the collective masturbatathon over him to be pretty nauseating”.
Spot on. I read some nonsense about how good a goal it was. It was good but was it better than, say, RvP’s diving header? I’m not sure, yet heard nonsense about how it was going to go down as legendary goal etc etc. OTT in extreme.