Argentina defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina in the latter’s first ever World Cup appearance by a score of 2-1. An own-goal put them ahead before Leo Messi scored the game-winner, only to leave Vedad Ibisevic to score his nation’s first ever at this stage.
The winners played smart possession and relied heavily on their speedy players such as Angel di Maria and Messi. Their defense was a bit shaky at times as their wingbacks pushed up to propel the attack. Their opponents did not allow them to get too much rhythm in the center of the park and their pressure forced errors.
Argentina chose Messi to be their captain and number 10 because he is their calmest player on the ball and can truly handle the pressure. The one thing he did today that he has not done too often at this stage is create a sweet scoring chance for himself and take full advantage. Since the midfield lacked quite a bit of creativity going straight down the middle, he pulled back quite a bit to take the ball himself, hoping to evade the tackles of many players. He was stopped at times, but not when it mattered most.
Bosnia played a tremendous game as their possession, work rate and trust in one another’s abilities really paid off — they gave the Argentinians more than one scare. Coach Safet Susic chose to bring Ibisevic into the game to switch to a 4-4-2 so he could help Edin Dzeko up top. That paid dividends and showed him that he does not need five midfielders. He chose that first option so his troops could try and contain the fast and skilled players.
Overall, this was a great match for the Bosnians, as their first ever World Cup match was against a former champion that contains one of the world’s very best talents. They need to learn to play a bit quicker and to not foul needlessly. They now know that their skill levels at this stage will be sufficient to score goals to perhaps win their final two games against Iran and Nigeria who will not be as difficult.
Messi and company should win their remaining games against the same opposition to win this group. The only team that should really give them any trouble is Nigeria whom they always have a bit of an issue against.