The Argentineans backs home were wishing for the newer and better version of Diego Maradona will lead them to victory. They might have been on the grasp but not just yet.
Lionel Messi even after failing to bring home the coveted World Cup has been selected as the recipient of the Golden Ball after being adjudged the best player of the tournament. Ironically, flanking him to his right was Manuel Neuer, the German goalkeeper who foiled every attempt of his team paving the way for the1-0 win of the Germans in extra time.
This one hurts a whole lot after gargantuan expectations from his countrymen, the media and players alike. Messi is the projected messiah who should have led Argentina to the promise land. Neymar his teammate in Barcelona, was even rooting for his South American rival to triumph. In the ensuing game, the German cohesiveness, experience and chemistry was just too much for one man to conquer.
Messi had his chances. All eyes were on him when he received the ball meters from the goal in the opening minutes. He lunged forward and got away from pesky defender Mats Hummel only for the cut-back to be cleared. In the ensuing play, his genius was still apparent when he seemingly lost balance but was albe to pass cross field to Ezequiel Lavessi who also found Gonzalo Higuain who had the sight s for the initial goal of the game. Alas, it was called offside and was disallowed.
The Germans must have his number and the team in general, ending the successive bid of Argentina in 2010 and this year. They apparently were not aggressive enough on defense to put pressure on the attacks of the Germans. The game plan as it was mapped was to capitalize on counter-attacks.
The opportunities were there but they still came up shorthanded and Messi knew it.
"The truth is it doesn't interest me at this moment. We wanted to win the World Cup for all the people in Argentina and we couldn't do it," Messi told BBC.com. "We tried, but we didn't have the luck we had in other games."
At a ripe age of 27, people may be wondering of his run at capturing the elusive cup may have slipped and his status to be aligned with Maradona and Pele as one of the greatest ever to play the game may be in jeopardy. Nevertheless, his showing in the tournament, his four goals in the group stages and his leadership during the knockout stages notwithstanding the futile effort in the final should not diminish his stature as one of the games' best. They may just be one more run and kick left in the man who is just in the shadow of Maradona.