Tuesday evening could be Lionel Messi’s last chance to prove himself at the World Cup with his Argentina side facing elimination at the Group Stage of the tournament but Kaka doesn’t think it’s all his fault.
Last weekend we faced the very real possibility of Germany going out of the World Cup after just two games but tonight we’re eyeing up the even bigger possibility of Argentina going out before the knockouts.
Having drawn with Iceland and lost to Croatia even a win for the South American’s might not be enough for them to get into the knockout stages, if Iceland also beat Croatia.
Messi is obviously getting a lot of the flack as the Barcelona forward has been out of sorts and unable to make an impact on the tournament, with a penalty miss against Iceland his biggest contribution so far.
That coupled with Cristiano Ronaldo’s four goals in two games, although he missed a spot kick in Portugal’s draw with Iran last night, have led to major criticism of Messi.
But Kaka, speaking to ESPN, has stood up for his fellow South American and questioned the role of Messi’s teammates, saying:
“Messi is going through a difficult period with Argentina and this shows the importance of the group in soccer.
“He is someone who strengthens those around him, but when it’s not working he also starts to struggle.“
Pretty much sums up Messi’s World Cup. Image: PA Images
Whilst Messi hasn’t been anywhere near his best individual errors, like Willy Caballero’s to hand Croatia their opening goal in the 3-0 defeat, and general poor performances throughout the team haven’t helped.
Before Sergio Aguero’s goal in the Iceland game, which only earned a point, no Argentina player other than Messi had scored in 600 days.
Without the five time Ballon d’Or winner Jorge Sampaoli’s team wouldn’t even be in Russia with Messi scoring a hat-trick in the final qualifying match to beat Ecuador 3-1.
Kaka played at two World Cups with Brazil. Image: PA Images
Argentina need to beat Nigeria to have any chance of qualifying. If Iceland then lose to Croatia then they would be through.
If they and Iceland both win then Argentina would need to win by two more goals.
Can Messi rouse a performance out of nowhere?