More Messi Magic To Come?

Can Messi produce another magical display against the Swiss? Source: Independent.co.uk

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Argentina v Switzerland



Arena Corinthians, São Paulo
Wednesday July 2 – 2:00 AM (AEST)



Argentina  face their toughest World Cup task yet when they clash with Switzerland  on Wednesday morning.

They may have three wins to their name, but we are still yet to see Argentina perform at their full potential. With a margin of one goal separating themselves and their opponents in all three groups matches, they haven’t been winning in the dominating style expected of them. It is reassuring for coach Aljandro Sabella to know his side is winning, even though they’re far from playing their best football, and that comes down to one thing - Lionel Messi . Touted as the best footballer in the world, few would argue after seeing the damage he’s done in the opening matches. Four goals in three matches is a feat in itself, but to do it in the way that he has on football’s biggest stage is truly staggering. The only question is how deep into the tournament can the Barca forward carry his team? Messi won’t have fellow striker Sergio Aguero to partner him up front due to a thigh injury, meaning PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi  is likely to step up to the plate.

Switzerland have had an indifferent campaign so far, managing to see off challenges from Ecuador and Honduras either side of a hefty defeat to France. You wouldn’t think it, but Switzerland is rated sixth in the world according to FIFA’s official world rankings, just one spot behind their opponents. The market however doesn’t reflect this and the Swiss head into this match with the underdog tag. That won’t affect their confidence though, as they are still flying high after a 3-0 thrashing of Honduras. That match saw Bayern Munich midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri  bag the second hat-trick of the tournament, after Germany’s Thomas Muller hit one on his opening game. The 22-year-old has proved he can rifle in a shot from almost anywhere on the park and the Argentinian defenders, who have already showed vulnerabilities, will need to keep him quiet.

Argentina really should outclass the Swiss, but there remains a question mark surrounding their strength in defence. Although Argentina will be without star striker Sergio Aguero, with Messi in the sort of form that has seen him claim four Ballon d’Ors, the South Americans haven’t lost too much in attack and they should go on and win this convincingly.

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