Report #1 – 2018 World Cup in Russia
At first glance the contrast was staggering. While everything Ronaldo touches turns to gold. Messi looks for composure.
After one game we already have the hottest contender firing everything but blanks! Netting a hat-trick in the first match is simply the best start any striker could aim for, and with laser precision, aim is what he positively did. Ronnie had kick started his campaign in style, and off the back of a 2016 euros triumph, feeling relaxed, rested, and with no real pressure.
Fuelled by a 3rd minute penalty (went down too easy if you ask me!) which does still have to be netted, remember nothing in this wonderful game is a given. A quick sharp snap-shot from inside the D took him one step closer. Eventually topping it off with a classic, technically sweet and typically eloquently placed free kick… This man, who needs not naming, begins the Russian 2018 World cup campaign in a blaze of glory. High flying. No pressure! The competitions on! Contenders are you ready! ?
Lionel Messi – Vs. The Ice Men: Where to start? As I sat watching the game shortly before kick-off, Messi looked to me to be carrying a heavy weight. His face full of pressure.
Mr Messi on the opposing other hand, appears to start with a mountain to climb. I said to myself quietly as the game commenced, Messi looks like he’s trying too hard. Simply put, if he doesn’t lose this self-inflicting pressure I can’t see him getting out the blocks. He had plenty of shots, but on target conversion percentage was low, it’s not the Messi we know. Come the end of his first game this striker looked broken! That being said, Messi is never to be counted out. The night is still young, the quality is there. If he can scale this wall and remove that mental block, he’s certainly still in with a good chance. Competition will be fierce. We know he possess the class but does Mr Messi have the mental aptitude for such a heroic climb?
One things sure, the bar after game one is set sky high. There will be winners and losers. Those that have a mental edge, and those that don’t.
Replay the free-kick hat-trick moment here
Sam Ward for SportsGrape.com