Argentina media impressed as Messi stirs revival

12 July 2011 08:00

After days of giving the team stick, Argentina's media were impressed after a Lionel Messi-inspired win over Costa Rica ensured qualification for the Copa America quarter-finals.

Messi, a forlorn figure in opening draws with Bolivia and Colombia, was at the hub of everything in a 3-0 win that finally brought the media back on side.

"That's more like it," said Clarin, who noted the team "was led by a masterful Messi."

Clarin described Messi as the key figure "who pulled the Costa Ricans all over the place - they simply couldn't stop him."

Argentina should have had a hatful but Sergio Aguero's double strike and a third from Angel Di Maria were enough to clinch qualification behind group winners Colombia.

The daily La Nacion wrote that "Argentina threw off the shackles," while noting that "they were looking for a player to show them the way and take the initiative with personality and conviction, to set in train a collective functioning which had not existed."

But for La Nacion, while Messi deserved the attacking plaudits, the paper said the man they wanted to single out was Fernando Gago, who was "dynamism" personified, building the platform on which Messi starred.

Sports daily Ole eulogised Messi and Aguero and noted the team "has reconciled itself with the people."

Costa Rica's Diario Extra said, for its part, that Messi was simply too good.

"So you wanted to play with Messi?" was how the paper framed a picture of the Barcelona star, ball at his feet, slaloming past four Costa Ricans.

"La Pulga (the flea - Messi's nickname) made us look pretty bad," wrote Al Dia, which used the same picture.

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0