A magical moment from Lionel Messi was the high point of an otherwise average encounter that saw Argentina run out 2-1 winners in Bosnia & Herzegovina’s maiden World Cup match.
The game itself was not as exciting as many had expected but the 65th minute saw the moment the footballing world had been waiting for. Lionel Messi picked up the ball twenty yards from goal and jinked past several defenders and then delicately curled the ball out of the reach of despairing Asmir Begovic.
It was a goal worthy of gracing the stage that is the Maracana, made even sweeter by the fact that Messi had been largely uninspiring before his moment.
Bosnia’s first World Cup could not have got off to a worst start though. After just three minutes Messi’s free-kick was inadvertently turned in by Sead Kolasinac as he tried to clear but the ball deflected off the wrong part of his leg and into the net.
In a half with very little goalmouth action, Javier Mascherano came closest for Argentina with a speculative shot that Begovic dealt with easily.
Senad Lulic provided Bosnia’s best chance when his powerful header from Martin Pjanic’s corner was saved well by Sergio Romero.
Izet Hajrovic did his level best to equalize at 1-1 for the Bosnians but he could only shoot straight at Romero twice, first from a free-kick and then from twenty yards out.
They did however score their first ever World Cup goal when Lulic played an itelligent pass to Vedad Ibisevic who nutmegged Romero to claim the historic honour with five minutes to play.
The Golden Lillies just couldn’t find a leveler though and Argentina held on to claim their first three points.