Football

World Cup final: Messi's defining moment?

Published 1244 GMT (2044 HKT) July 11, 2014
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Lionel Messi will try to lead his team to glory for the first time since Diego Maradona's Argentina won the World Cup in 1986. Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images
In Barcelona Messi is seen as a footballing "God," but Maradona's achievements for the national team are a heavy burden on his shoulders when playing for the "Albiceleste." Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Argentine fans see their captain as the new Maradona, who they hope can lead their team to World Cup triumph once again. Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images
After Argentina's disastrous campaign under coach Maradona in the 2010 World Cup, they'll be hoping Messi can help them forget those dark times and bring the trophy back to Argentina. JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images
Messi has the ability to keep close control of the ball and find space in the tightest of areas, making him one of the hardest players to mark. Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
Messi found space at a premium against the Netherlands in a tense semfinal which finished goalless after 120 minutes before Argentina won on penalties. ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Deadly from outside the area, the Germany players will have to ensure they don't give away any needless fouls if they don't want to look down the barrel of a Messi free-kick. Ian Walton/Getty Images
Nigeria found that out the hard way in the group stage when Messi curled a free kick into the back of the net during Argentina's 3-2 victory. Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images
Although he is most effective further up the field, Messi also works hard on the defensive side of his game. Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images
Being one of the most talented players in the world, Messi has been a marked man at Brazil 2014 -- and can expect similar treatment in the final against Germany at the Maracana. ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Can Argentina's No. 10 finally establish himself as a legend of the sport, like Maradona before him, and win the World Cup? YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images
Argentinians will be hoping he can by proving his doubters wrong and finally leaving his mark on the greatest stage of the football world. NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images