With his maiden goal in the world show, Lionel Messi, then 18 years and 357 days old, became Argentina’s youngest goalscorer at a FIFA World Cup.
Argentina coach Jose Pekerman gave Lionel Messi his first FIFA World Cup cap in a 0-0 draw with the Netherlands. The teenager also made a substitute appearance as Argentina defeated Mexico 2–1 in the round of 16. However, it was unused. a substitute as Germany eliminated Argentina on penalties in the quarter-finals.
Disappointment in South Africa 2010
Unlike the 2006 World Cup, to which he arrived as an up-and-coming teenager, Lionel Messi bore the brunt of the expectations of the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa.
After all, Leo Messi set the bar high after his exploits with Barcelona and guiding Argentina to the 2008 Olympic gold medal in Beijing. However, the script did not quite go according to the Argentinian master’s plan.
Argentina advanced to the quarter-finals again before being ousted by Germany, but Messi, despite making a major contribution to the team throughout, remained goalless in his five matches. His only goal of the season was an assist from Carlos Tevez in Argentina’s 3-1 win over Mexico in the round of 16.
Bittersweet Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup
After the 2010 campaign, Lionel Messi had a lot to prove ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. This time the little champion grabbed the tournament by the neck.
With four goals and one assist in seven matches, Lionel Messi almost single-handedly led Argentina to the final, but eventually Messi and company lost to Germany, beating them again 1-0 in the final.
Two of his goals came in a 3-2 win over Nigeria in a group match. This is the only time Lionel Messi has scored more than one goal in a single FIFA World Cup match.
In addition to being his team’s top scorer at the 2014 World Cup, Lionel Messi was named the tournament’s best player and won the Ballon d’Or award.
Early exit from Russia 2018
At the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Argentina were eliminated in the round of 16 by eventual champions France.
Despite missing out on a potential win against Iceland in Argentina’s opening match, Lionel Messi was Argentina’s standout player in a disappointing campaign for the South Americans.
Messi’s only goal of the tournament came in the final group match against Nigeria, setting the tone for a 2-1 victory. It was a virtual playoff match with both sides battling it out to advance to the knockout stages.
Interestingly, thanks to the goal against Nigeria in the 2018 edition, Messi became the first footballer in history to score a goal in the FIFA World Cup as a teenager, in his twenties.