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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Can Messi lift the World Cup?

Story by Anashe Murombedzi

TWO of the world’s best players, Lionel Messi and Neymar are in action this evening when Argentina and Brazil face European opposition in the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World.

The FIFA World Cup glory has been elusive for Neymar, more so for Messi who was part of the 2006 edition where his Argentina side lost to hosts Germany in the quarter-finals.

Now trying for the fifth time and most likely his last, Messi will have to carry his national team past all the hurdles, with the first being the Netherlands, who have their hopes of erasing the under-achievers tag.

The Dutch are probably the unluckiest team at the World Cup after losing three finals, the last of which was in South Africa in 2010.

They will however be motivated tonight when they clash against a side that beat them in 1978 final.

Argentina captain, Messi goes into the match after scoring three goals at the tournament, while Netherlands’ Cody Gakpo is the Dutch’s top scorer in Qatar with three goals.

The match kicks off at 9 pm.

The FIFA World Cup quarter-finals get underway earlier with Brazil clashing against the 2018 runners-up, Croatia at 5 pm.

Led by star forward Neymar, the Samba Boys will be hoping to continue their dominance over the Croats, whom they have beaten thrice in four matches, including in the 2014 World Cup opener.

Pundits have put their money on the star-studded Brazil, which boasts of PSG’s Neymar and a host of other stars like Manchester United Midfielder Casemiro, Liverpool goalkeeper Alison, ageless Chelsea center-back Thiago Silva and Real Madrid’s flying winger Vinicius Junior who are hoping to emulate the 2002 side, which lifted the trophy in Japan and South Korea.

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