FIFA World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi Proud of Opening Win
Argentina beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 in their opening FIFA World Cup 2014 match. In what was far from a sublime show, captain Lionel Messi however managed to win hearts by scoring his first FIFA World Cup goal since 2006.
Lionel Messi left the Maracana with a smile on his face on Sunday following his man of the match performance against Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Full match report)
"We have things we need to improve but it was a good first game at the World Cup," the 26-year-old captain said after setting up Argentina's first goal and then scoring the decisive second after a stunning burst from midfield.
"Everyone was anxious to do well. The result was the most important," he added, before admitting that a half-time tactical tweak by coach Alejandro Sabella proved crucial in helping him flourish after the restart. (Also read: Messi's magic gets Argentina off the mark)
Argentinian Lionel Messi is seen on a giant screen as football fans watch the FIFA World Cup match against Bosnia-Herzegovina at San Martin Square, in Buenos Aires.
Argentina switched from a system with three central defenders to their customary 4-3-3, with Gonzalo Higuain joining the attack and helping set up Messi's goal. (In pics: Sublime Argentina fans party after win)
"I think it was a great second half. We had the ball, created chances. That is how we need to carry on, playing the way we did in the second half.
"The important thing is that we started well, but the system (in the second half) for us strikers obviously is better because we have more chances to hit them on the break and more options for the pass when we bring the ball out.
"It favours us strikers I think. We struggled a bit in the first half and had possession too far away from their goal. It was difficult, but we used the two systems and we won the game, which is the most important thing."
The Barcelona superstar was also impressed with the atmosphere generated by the large Argentinian contingent in the Maracana crowd of close to 75,000.
"The stadium is impressive and it was great to see so many Argentinians, which I'm sure will be the same in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre. It was a great atmosphere and it makes me proud," he said.
Argentina take on Iran in Belo Horizonte next Saturday, June 21, before facing Nigeria in their final Group F game in Porto Alegre on June 25.