The World Cup Countdown: What ails Messi?

[BRAZIL 2014] No player will be under more pressure to perform at the World Cup than Lionel Messi. Whether with Barcelona or Argentina or in victory or defeat -- the Argentine star has not exactly had stellar World Cups in his two appearances at the finals -- Messi always seems to have a calm demeanor. What then with his habit of throwing up on the field?

The sight of Messi doubling over and vomiting on the field in the middle of a game -- he most recently did it in Argentina's friendly against Romania in March -- has confounded observers. Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella's explanation is simple: "Nerves."

''I reckon that in these moments there is anxiety more than anything,'' Sabella told the Argentine media over the weekend. ''It's difficult to remain calm.''

Good Reading: The Burden of Being Messi (New York Times)



Weather Update ...

NO DANGER IN CURITIBA. The problem in and around Sao Paulo is a water shortage because of a prolonged drought. In the South, the problem is flooding along the Borigui River following torrential rains. Floods have killed nine people in the state of Parana. The flooding has hit Curitiba, one of the 12 World Cup venues, but  the Arena da Baixada stadium and city center are nowhere near the river.

SA World Cup Previews:
Mike Woitalla: Group A
Ridge Mahoney: Group B
Mike Woitalla: Group C
Ridge Mahoney: Group D
Paul Kennedy: Group E
Mike Woitalla: Group F
Paul Kennedy: Group H
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