Messi brings India to a standstill

Posted By:
Lionel Messi
Kolkata, Sep 2: India is just a few hours away from a history, with first ever FIFA sanctioned international football friendly match in the country set to kick off on Friday, Sep 2, featuring football star Lionel Messi led Argentina and a reviving Venezualean team.

The match to be played at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan (YBK), the world's second largest stadium by capacity of 1.20 lakh, is considered one of the eye catchers as well as most high profile football match to be held in the sub-continent. It will also bring an end to the wait of people in India's soccer crazy city Kolkata, who are eagerly waiting to see the prince of football in action.

The match is to be played under floodlights and more importantly it will be the debut match for Messi as regular national captain and Alejandro Sabella's as the coach.

Argentina had won World cup two-times but Venezuela are still awaiting their first ever appearance in the final stage of the World Cup.

Since 1967, the two sides have met 17 times, where Argentina won all matches.

In FIFA rating, Argentina are on 9th, where Venezuela stands 44th.

Meanwhile, Venezuela is said to be the better side from their recent show in the Copa America where they finished fourth. Argentina went out of contention in the quarter final.

Venezuela has made tremendous improvement in the recent times. Venezuela, 12 years ago which lagged even behind India in the FIFA rankings, at 110th in the year 1999 which was four rungs below India, have improved to become a major South American footballing nation.

Though Messi is proved to be the most hyped player of the match which has massively overshadowed Venezuela, Argentinas defender Pablo Zabaleta said that it would be a tough game.

"It's going to be a very tough match. Venezuela are a very good team," said the Manchester City player.

"A game like this involves a lot of prestige. That makes it important. This friendly match is not a friendly for us. Everytime you play against Argentina, you want to see the team in very good form," said Venezuela coach Cesar Ferias.

Argentina has power performers like Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero. In defence, they have Zabaleta and Nicolas although it has been a weak department for Argentina for sometime.

For the all-excited spectators, who moves towards YBK (also called Salt Lake Stadium), the real deal would be to watch the genius, Messi in action. It is one of the most awaited moments for football crazy people.

The squads:


Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero, Estaban Andrada, Mariano Andujar.

Defenders: Martin Demichelis, Federico Fernandez, Nicolas Burdisso, Nicolas Otamendi, Pablo Zabaleta, Nicolas Pareja, Marcos Rojo.

Midfielders: Angel Di Maria, Javier Mascherano, Ever Banega, Ricardo Alvarez, Fabian Rinaudo, Jonas Gutierrez, Javier Pastore, Luis Gonzalez, Jose Sosa.

Forwards: Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi, Eduardo Salvio, Sergio Aguero.

Coach: Alejandro Sabella.


Goalkeepers: Rafael Romo, Renny Vega, Daniel Hernandez.

Defenders: Andres Tunez, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, Cesar Gonzalez, Roberto Rosales, Rolf Feltscher, Fernando Amorebieta, Rohel Briceno, Josef Martinez

Midfielders: Franco Signorelli, Josmar Zambrano, Tomas Rincon, Yohandry Orozco, Raul Gonzalez, Gabriel Cichero, Juan Arango, Frank Feltscher, Julio Alvarez, Luis Manuel Seijas.

Forwards: Nicolas Fedor, Salomon Rondon, Mario Rondon.

Coach: Cesar Farias.

Match Commissioner: Col Goutam Kar

Referee: A Rowan; Assistant Referees: Biplab Poddar, Dinesh Nair and Franky Fernandes; Fourth official: Pratap Singh.

Kick off: 7 pm.

OneIndia News

Read more about: fifa football kolkata messi
Story first published: Friday, September 2, 2011, 13:42 [IST]
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