Leo tumbles; all fall – Over dependence on Messi costs Argentina

Argentina’s overdependence on Messi once again cost the team, with no one able to step up when the Barca star fell short against Iceland.

The European minnows are still in fairytale mood, having earned a hard-fought draw against their South American counterparts in Group D’s opening game.

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But as resilient as the Islanders fought, their efforts were aided by an abject outing from Argentina. Considered as the weakest team in Group D, at least on paper, Island were always there for the taking, yet Argentina failed to make their opportunities count.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side is full of stars who have often underperformed at international level. The likes of Angel di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Lucas Biglia have always found it difficult to replicate their club forms when playing in national colours.

Such an unfortunate turn of event means the responsibility has almost always been ceded to Lionel Messi to do it all.

At his best the Barcelona star can win games on his own, as he has countlessly shown at Camp Nou. However, even Messi is still human and need sometimes needs help to pull the strings.

Against Island, Argentina labored to even create chances due to the deep defensive set up of their opponents. And, once again, on a day when Messi failed to spark, there was nobody that could bail the Albiceeste out.

When Aguero opened the scoring in the 19 minute it looked as though Argentina were in for a resounding victory. However, once Finnbogasson stabbed home the equalizer four minutes later the South Americans never looked like a side that could conjure another goal.

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With Messi dropping very deep after being isolated upfront, there was nobody else to lay that final pass whenever Argentina found themselves in good positions.

In plain terms, once Messi was out, every Argentine player followed. His penalty miss may have been the biggest talking point of the game, but there are far bigger problems confronting Sampaoli’s team.

Argentina’s overdependence on Messi has cost the team in the past and it appears it will once again hunt them in Russia, unless other players begin to step up when he’s having a bad day.

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