Lionel Messi scored twice to give Argentina a 2-1 lead over Nigeria at halftime of their Group F match in soccer’s World Cup in Brazil. In the group’s other match, Bosnia-Herzegovina is beating Iran 1-0.
Messi scored in the third minute to put Argentina ahead in Porto Alegre but the lead lasted just 60 seconds before Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa cut in from the left and placed the ball past Sergio Romero in the Argentinian goal. Just before halftime, Messi curled a freekick into the corner of Vincent Enyeama’s goal, minutes after the goalkeeper was forced to punch another of his efforts over his crossbar.
Bosnia is leading Iran after Edin Dzeko scored in the 23rd minute in Salvador. Dzeko fired a left-footed shot from outside the box that split a pair of Iranian defenders and tucked inside the right post, past a diving Alireza Haghighi. Minutes later, Masoud Shojaei hit the crossbar for Iran.
While Messi, a four-time World Player of the Year, has had success with his club, Barcelona, that hasn’t translated into trophies with Argentina. He’s now scored four times in the World Cup, and today’s second goal is his 10th in last eight games for his country.
Going into today’s matches, Argentina is leading the group with six points after winning both its earlier games. Nigeria has four points and Iran has one. Bosnia-Herzegovina has already been eliminated after losing both its matches.
The winner of Group F will play the runnerup in Group E July 1, with the champion of Group E taking on the second-placed Group F team a day earlier.
Later today in Group E, Honduras faces Switzerland in Manaus and Ecuador plays France in Rio De Janeiro.
Going into the final set of opening matches, France leads the group with six points while Ecuador and Switzerland each have 3 points. Honduras has been eliminated after losing both its games.
Yesterday, Uruguay advanced to the second round with a 1-0 win against four-time champion Italy that was marred by an accusation that Luis Suarez bit an opponent. The South Americans needed a victory to earn the second qualification spot in Group D behind Costa Rica, which tied 0-0 with the already eliminated England in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Greece scored on a penalty kick in the final seconds to beat Ivory Coast 2-1 and move into the knockout phase along with Group C winner Colombia, which routed Japan 4-1. A draw would have sent Ivory Coast through and eliminated Greece.
FIFA charged Suarez after television pictures appeared to show the player biting Giorgio Chiellini on the Italian defender’s shoulder. Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez took no action against the Uruguayan, who has been banned twice before for biting opponents.
Tournament organizer FIFA said in an e-mailed release early this morning that it had begun disciplinary proceedings against Suarez.
“FIFA can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the player Luis Suarez of Uruguay,” the organization said. “The FIFA Disciplinary Committee is responsible for sanctioning serious infringements which have escaped the match officials’ attention.”