The Associated Press and other news outlets are reporting that Argentina striker Lionel Messi challenged the authority of coach Alejandro Sabella at halftime during Argentina’s opening game of the World Cup against Bosnia-Herzegovina, which it won 2-1. Apparently, Messi demanded that Sabella change the team’s formation from a 5-3-2 to a 4-3-3, which is exactly what happened in the second half. Messi went on to score what would prove to be the gamewinner in the 65th minute.
According to the AP, Sabella went into the match not knowing how he should line up his star-studded squad against the World Cup debutant. That contrasted with Messi’s assertion this week that “We are Argentina,” and that a team of such stature should “look at ourselves first and not focus on the rival.”
Meanwhile, other Argentina players have come out on the Barcelona striker’s side, saying they believe the Albiceleste should play with a three-man attack, while also denying there is a rift between Sabella and his players.
When asked about the halftime incident, Mariano Andujar played it down: “[Messi] gave his opinion, like many others did. And that's it," the back-up goalkeeper said Wednesday. "There is no problem. Everyone is free to have their opinion." Nevertheless, Argentina, top of Group F with three points, is likely to start with a 4-3-3 when it lines up against Iran on Saturday.