No.10s Messi and Benzema share World Cup limelight

Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:43pm EDT
 
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By Mike Collett-White

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Lionel Messi ended an eight-year wait for a World Cup goal on Sunday as Argentina edged past debutants Bosnia at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, while fellow No. 10, France's Karim Benzema, put two past Honduras in a man-of-the-match display.

The goals continued to rattle in across Brazil. France cruised to a 3-0 victory in Porto Alegre, and in the other Group E match, Switzerland came from behind to beat Ecuador 2-1 with a dramatic, counter-attacking winner in injury time.

The buildup to the fourth day of action at the 2014 World Cup had all been about Messi, the 26-year-old Barcelona forward who has lit up club soccer like few others but has so far failed to repeat those heroics on the biggest stage of all.

His last World Cup goal came on June 16, 2006, the sixth out of six Argentina put past Serbia & Montenegro in Germany.

Messi's roar of delight after a fine left-foot strike from the edge of the area on Sunday suggested the goal would lift a huge weight from his shoulders.

"It was important to start with a win and to get three points, but we need to improve," Messi said after also being named man of the match in the 2-1 victory in Group F.

Until that point Messi's display had been lackluster, but it proved a crucial goal when Bosnia scored late on to set up a tense end to a game many had expected Argentina to win easily.

There was a touch of fortune in the outcome, after Bosnia's Sead Kolasinac netted the fastest own goal in World Cup history in the third minute.   Continued...

 
Argentina's Lionel Messi (R) scores a goal during the 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match against Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro June 15, 2014. REUTERS/Michael Dalder