Leo Messi continues his incandescent national form which can only be good for Argentina’s World Cup chances. The little maestro unleashed a free kick that swerved past the wall and lodged into goal. The Albiceleste’s Real Madrid contingent also contributed with Angel Di Maria opening his country’s account and Gonzalo Higuain adding to that tally.
Paraguay got their goal from a spot kick after Rodrigo Brana handled the ball in the box trying to head away danger. Jonathan Fabbro had no difficulties converting.
The disparity between Messi’s Barca and national team performances was always attributed to the club system he played where the likes of Xavi and Iniesta made goalscoring easy. But Argentina under Sabella look like a more complete side with Di Maria and Higuain taking over the goalscoring responsibilities as well as dropping back to assist Messi’s forays forward. With Javier Mascherano and Fernando Gago back in the squad, the midfield connectivity has been taken care of. Giving Messi the captaincy seems to have also ended the remote relationship he was frequently criticized for with his own country.
Argentina now lead the CONMEBOL zone in World Cup qualifying with 13 points, followed by Chile and Ecuador with 12 points each, Uruguay in fourth with 11, and Colombia jockeying for the final spot with 10 points. The Albiceleste have a commanding goal differential which could prove to be a crucial tie breaker.