With Argentina desperate for a goal and Iran on the cusp of one of the greatest results in their modest footballing history, Lionel Messi came through with a stunner from outside the box in the first minute of injury time. His goal gave Argentina a 1-0 win — the chance for which seemed like it had slipped away thanks to Iran's admirably disciplined defending for an entire 90 minutes.
Realizing they were outmatched against Argentina's many weapons in attack, Iran sat back and defended — a strategy that often gets maligned as "parking the bus" since it doesn't lend itself to entertaining matches. But when executed properly it can give a smaller team a chance at a point from a draw or maybe even three if they can steal a goal from their frustrated opponents. Despite several good chances that gave Argentina a legitimate scare, Iran couldn't quite get a goal of their own. And in the end, Messi's class finally broke through when he fired a shot past nine defenders for the winner.
Even with a bus securely parked and cinderblocks wedged behind each wheel, there's little that can be done to stop a shot like Messi's from that distance.
Messi only had one goal in World Cup play coming into this tournament. Now with two goals in as many matches, the days of Messi struggling to make his mark at the World Cup seem behind him. Argentina still have a lot to prove if they are going to make a deep run, but a confident Messi with a penchant for late heroics can help take them there.
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