Best Player: In the first half of the tournament, I was very impressed with Argentina’s Lionel Messi, which is why I’m so dismayed by the talk that his goalless World Cup was somehow on the same level with Cristiano Ronaldo’s or Wayne Rooney’s disappointing performances. Granted, I’m a fan, and I won’t claim to be unbiased, but focusing on the fact that Messi didn’t score betrays a rather narrow understanding of an elite player’s impact on a game.
Let me bring to your attention a couple of things about the Mexican team before Friday’s opening match. I am fairly certain you have heard about Hugo Sánchez, the famous striker who owned Spanish football during the eighties playing for Real Madrid. Yes, Hugo was great: trained by gymnasts, his acrobatics remained unmatched in the box. His most famous goal, against Logroñes in 1988, still is one of the most beautiful in the long history of the sport (I challenge anyone who worships Zidane’s goal in the Champions League 2002 final to watch the above clip).