Messi show papers over cracks

2014-06-22 20:06
Lionel Messi (AP Photo)

Buenos Aires - Lionel Messi's injury time goal against Iran set off a social media eruption, but could not stop a torrent of criticism falling on Argentina on Sunday.

Argentine striker Messi's brilliant curling shot inspired 256 0246 Twitter comments a minute, one of the highest figures of the World Cup, the social network said.

The World Cup record of 261,026 Tweets per minute was set after Portugal's defender Pepe was sent off for headbutting German striker Thomas Mueller.

While Messi's goal inspired fans, Argentina's struggle to beat Iran in Group F provoked the ire of the country's past legend Diego Maradona and the media.

The win secured a place in the final 16 but few were impressed.

"I see an Argentina without rhythm. I saw today an Argentina which is not yet on course," Maradona said on Venezuelan broadcaster Telesur.

"I think Argentina has not yet found its place on the pitch," added Maradona who left the Belo Horizonte stadium before Messi's goal.

The Argentine press also took a hard line on the national team.

"Messi saved Argentina in one of the worst matches in their history," said La Nacion daily.

La Nacion and Clarin said that goalkeeper Sergio Romero was "man of the match" for saving two close range Iranian headers.

"More than ever the hopes of Argentina depend on the genius" of Messi, added Clarin.

"Messi arrived in the key moment and in a minute the country exploded with joy," said the Ole daily. "A Maradona-style goal saved us from shame."

Argentina Football Association president Julio Grondona has described Maradona as a "curse" on the national team, according to the Buenos Aires media. Messi only scored in Belo Horizonte after Maradona had left the stadium.

Maradona responded accusing Grondona of being a "stupid idiot" for making the suggestion.

"I say to him that everything I possess I earned with my work. He bought (everything) with FIFA," Maradona added.

Argentina play their final group game against Nigeria on Wednesday.

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