Sport360°’s World Cup Show: Predictions for Brazil v Germany

Scott 8/07/2014
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Lionel Messi: On the brink of realising World Cup 'dream'

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Healthy pressure: Messi has been Argentina's captain and star man in Brazil.

The 2014 World Cup was billed as the time for Lionel Messi to secure his place among the pantheons of football legends by leading Argentina to glory.

With four goals to his name, four man-of-the-match displays, and just four nations still standing, Messi is on the brink of silencing the few doubters that remain.

However, up next for the Barcelona superstar is a tough challenge in the form of the Netherlands, who secured their place in the semi-finals with a penalty shootout victory over Costa Rica.

Here, Messi talks to Adidas about his boyhood dream of playing in a World Cup final, the players that have impressed him in Brazil, and how he deals with the pressure of leading Argentina. 

The prospect of an Argentina v Brazil final is coming closer. If you make it, is this the final everyone wants?

Of course an all-South American final would be something special. South American fans are full of passion, and will cheer their hearts out for their team. To be playing in a World Cup final, with an incredible atmosphere in the Maracana – it’s what every football player dreams of. 

Are you pleased to have silenced some doubters with your four World Cup goals so far?

I try not to concern myself with what people say – I just focus on myself and the team. If we focus on our game plan and stick to our tactics, then our football will do the talking.

If I keep scoring goals it enables Argentina to progress further in the tournament, which is the most important.

Are you pleased with the performance of the team so far?

The team is playing well, and we’ve worked hard to get this far. Switzerland was a real test in the last round, but we stuck to our guns and continued to play our game.

We also have a solid defence that allows us more freedom higher up the pitch. Most importantly there is a good atmosphere in the dressing room and we are united as a team.

Are there any players who have impressed you? How about your fellow adidas star James Rodriguez?

Rodriguez has been sensational for Colombia; his goal against Uruguay was a work of art. They were an exciting team to watch. 

What do you make of the early Spanish exit?

Spain was dealt a very difficult group. This World Cup has been full of surprises, and many great teams have already fallen to lesser known footballing nations. Spain has many good players, and they will be back stronger and more determined at the next tournament.

What's more important to you, Golden Boot or World Cup trophy?

World Cup. Every time. As a football player winning the World Cup it is the highest achievement. It is something you dream of as a child, and the dream never goes away.

I’ve asked my Barcelona teammates Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique, how it feels to lift the trophy, but it is something they cannot put into words. We are doing everything we can to make the dream a reality.

Are you feeling any extra pressure as captain?

I am feeling healthy pressure. It is a great honour to captain Argentina and I will channel any extra pressure into my performances for my country. I want to repay that trust by leading Argentina to World Cup victory.

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FIFA reject claims about lenient referees

Barny 8/07/2014
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Walter de Gregorio, FIFA Director of Communications, defended World Cup referees.


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