Sunday saw FC Barcelona travel down to Valencia where they beat Levante in a tremendous match with plenty of goals for the Catalans.
Early on the home side looked as if they might score for themselves, but just after the half hour mark Neymar broke the deadlock to put Barça ahead. But after Messi was brought down in the box he uncharacteristically shot wide from the penalty spot, losing the chance to open the gap. However, Rakitic did that towards the end of the first half, leaving Barcelona with the clear advantage going into the break.
Back on for the second half, Neymar went down to cause a moment of panic on the Barcelona bench. Although he appeared to be uninjured, Sandro Ramírez was brought on in his place and soon made his mark felt when he scored off a Messi assist. With three goals it might have been the end of the night, but Pedro scored one more minutes later and, finally, Leo Messi scored goal number five a quarter hour from the end to leave Barça with a one hundred percent record this season.
0-1 Neymar (min 33)
0-2 Rakitic (min 43)
0-3 Sandro Ramírez (min 56)
0-4 Pedro (min 63)
0-5 Messi (min 76)
Messi and Munir helped FC Barcelona to their first win of the new season after facing Elche at the Nou Camp last night. The match was also the first league match for the club under Luis Enrique.
With high possession throughout, Barcelona controlled the game but despite some good efforts by Munir and Iniesta, it was not until the last five minutes of the first half that Lionel Messi finally opened the scoring. Immediately after the visitors created their own opportunity and although Mascherano stopped the attack, he earned himself a red card for doing so.
Back on after the break with one man down, Barcelona continued the pressure, which was quickly rewarded with a goal by new boy Munir; as a product of La Masia he cost the club nothing in transfer fees and is able to play. And after another quarter of an hour and the match was sealed, with another superb effort by Messi.
While Elche is hardly the toughest team Barcelona will play they at least started off the new season showing how they can play.
1-0 Messi (min 41)
2-0 Munir (min 46)
3-0 Messi (min 63)
Messi opened the scoring for FC Barcelona last night when the Catalans played their first home match under Luis Enrique and the new look Barça was officially introduced.
With many locals away on holiday, the stadium was rather empty and many in the crowd tourists. However, that didn’t stop Barça from putting in a show for everyone who attended. As well as the Messi opener, Neymar scored two and Munir, up from Barça B scored two more. The final goal of the match was scored by Sandro Ramírez just a couple of minutes from the end,
The match also marked the debut of Luis Suarez, controversially signed after biting a player during the World Cup in Brazil. While he can play in friendly matches, his suspension will see him out of action for the start of the season. He had better do more than he did last night to justify the amount spent on him though.
1-0 Messi (min 2)
2-0 Neymar (min 11)
3-0 Neymar (min 43)
4-0 Munir (min 53)
5-0 Munir (min 76)
6-0 Sandro Ramírez (min 88)
Lionel Messi was awarded the consolation prize of the Golden Boot for best player of the World Cup after he failed to achieve his dream of raising the trophy for Argentina last night.
After ending full time without a goal the match went to extra time, with some small flourishes during the match by Messi but he certainly was not at his best. As the countdown to the end of extra time ticked away it was starting to look as if the match would be decided on penalties, a cruel way to decide the competition.
However, seven minutes before the end Germany broke through to score while Argentina saw their opportunity slip away.
The last few minutes saw much stoppage and in the end a free kick for a foul on Messi during injury time was delayed for a couple of minutes. Messi had to simply wait for Bastian Schweinsteiger to receive treatment before what was going to be Argentina’s last chance to equalise and take it to penalties.
In the end though he shot over the crossbar and when the final whistle eventually blew it was an ecstatic Germany who had won the competition.
Barça players Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano are through to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final after Argentina beat Holland on penalties last night.
Neither side looked to be particularly on form last night, although Messi had his occasional moments, and overall the match lacked the kind of spectacle you might have expected. After approaching the end of the second half it looked increasingly likely that the match would go to extra time and it was little surprise to end 0-0.
With neither side seriously threatening in extra time it was clear that it would take a good bit of luck for the match not to go to penalties. And here was where Argentina had a clear advantage, with the Dutch keeper having failed to stop a single penalty in his career. 16 out of 16 penalties had gone past him.
Vlaar went first for Holland, failing to put eh ball past Romero, followed by Messi who put Argentina ahead. Robben scored for the Netherlands, followed by Garay to put the Argentine squad ahead 2-1. Sneijder missed, while Aguero puit Argentina further ahead on 3-1. And then Kuyt and Rodríguez both scored to put Argentina into the final of the World Cup.
The Argentine squad faces Germany in the final in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
Leo Messi and Argentina made it through to the semi-final stage of the 2014 World Cup after narrowly beating Belgium 1-0 on Saturday.
Argentina scored an early goal to go ahead in the eighth minute thanks to Gonzalo Higuaín, but despite Messi not scoring he started the play that resulted in the only goal of the match and was on form throughout the match.
Argentina faces The Netherlands next on Wednesday at 9pm BST at São Paulo, the first time the Argentine national squad has made the semi-finals in 24 years, when Maradona was with the squad.
Lionel Messi scored two first half goals in yesterday’s match against Nigeria, which the Argentine squad beat the Africans 3-2.
Messi scored the opener 3 minutes in, but immediately after Ahmed Musa equalised. Messi then put Argentina ahead in injury time prior to the break, with Musa again equalising within 2 minutes of the second half.
However, Marcos Rojo scored the decider at the 59 minute mark and Argentina end the group stage at the head of Group F on 9 points.
Argentina will play Switzerland in the second round on 1st July.
An injury time goal from Lionel Messi ensured victory for Argentina and put them through to the next round of the World Cup.
Saturday saw the Argentine national squad face Iran, who played a solid game against the South Americans. Both Messi and Mascherano played the entire minutes, with the latter making his 100th appearance for Argentina. The match looked to end in a goalless draw, with the Iranians at times looking dangerous, but a brilliant bit of play from Messi saw the only goal of the match and put Argentina at the top of Group F.
Argentina play their final group stage match on Wednesday against Nigeria, who drew against Iran and beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0 and so lie in second place.
After Brazil’s opening match and Spain’s humiliation at the hands of the Dutch, last night saw Argentina take centre stage captained by Barça superstar Lionel Messi.
Despite often being considered the best player in the world, Messi is yet to make an impact on the World Cup. And despite admitting to nerves last night his move when it came resulted in a fantastic goal, only his second World Cup goal in nine matches, the last being in 2006!
Argentina went ahead against Bosnia and Herzegovina early on thanks to an own goal by Sead Kolašinac, with the Argentine side certainly lacking against a side that had never scored a World Cup goal. However, after the break and a change of formation, Argentina started to look far more comfortable and Gonzalo Higuain helped set up a spectacular goal for Messi 20 minutes into the second half.
With Argentina now looking more comfortable and with a two goal advantage things were looking far better. Five minutes from the end Vedad Ibišević closed the gap but Argentina held onto their lead to take three points to head Group F.
Argentina’s next match is against Iran on 21st June.
1-0 Kolašinac (min 3)
2-0 Messi (min 65)
2-1 Ibišević (min 85)
FC Barcelona has inked an improved deal with Lionel Messi that will secure he remains with the club for the foreseeable future. A provisional deal was agreed at the end of last week and finally signed yesterday.
Although details have not been released it is reported the contract will earn Messi the equivalent of £16.3 million a year, making him the best paid player in the world.
In exchange for the higher payout from Barça Messi has given up a proportion of his image rights, which will be paid to FC Barcelona instead.