Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press
Switzerland did well to contain Lionel Messi.
Game: vs. Switzerland
Minutes Played: 120
Successful pass completion: 74 percent
Lionel Messi found it hard to get into the game in the opening stages as the Swiss expertly denied him space, doubling up on him where necessary.
We didn't see his first trademark run until 19 minutes as he took on Rodriguez down the right channel. After working his way inside and bearing down on goal, the defender recovered sufficiently to snuff out the emerging half-chance.
Unusually for Messi he provided very little movement in the opening half hour and much of the play passed him by. The half time whistle couldn't come soon enough.
Tried his best to affect the play throughout the second half but was crowded out all too often. If he did get a shot away, invariably it was blocked. Switzerland had certainly done their homework.
90 minutes of toil without reward.
Valon Behrami continued to frustrate Messi during extra time, leading to a naughty kick out which went unpunished by the referee.
Try as he might, he couldn’t make any impression on proceedings, an extremely poor all-round team performance leaving Messi’s own contribution impotent.
Far too often his team mates gave away the ball, or were not on the same wavelength when the ball was played to them by Messi. It made for embarrassing viewing.
Yet still he would be decisive in this match.
Taking the ball to the heart of the Swiss defence with 3 minutes left on the clock before playing a perfect pass for Angel Di Maria to score the winner.