|Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Bosnia on Sunday. ( AP-Yonhap)|
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) ― Lionel Messi scored a stunning second-half goal to push Argentina to a 2-1 victory over World Cup debutant Bosnia at the Maracana stadium on Sunday in the Group F opener for both teams.
Messi lifted Argentina in the 65th minute, moving in from the right and striking a low left-footed shot off the inside of the post behind Bosnian keeper Asmir Begovic. It was just the second World Cup goal for Messi, adding to one he scored eight years ago in Germany.
Vedad Ibisevic scored a close-in goal in the 85th to give Bosnia hope.
Bosnia got the worst possible start to its first World Cup when Sead Kolasinovic scored an own goal after just three minutes.
Messi sent a free kick from the left flank into the penalty area that Marcos Rojo barely touched before the ball bounced off Kolasinovic’s foot into Bosnia’s goal.
Bosnia bounced back after the early setback, making Argentina’s lead look shaky.
Izet Hajrovic slipped through Argentina’s five-man defense in the 13th but couldn’t beat goalkeeper Sergio Romero. Five minutes before the break, Senad Lulic tested Romero’s reflexes with a well-timed header on a corner kick five.
Meanwhile, Argentina struggled to find ways to create danger as Bosnia gave Messi no space to work his magic.
Coach Alejandro Sabella put in striker Gonzalo Higuain at halftime allowing Messi to take a step back. That shift proved crucial, getting the Barcelona star more involved in the action.
After a string of dangerous runs, Messi combined with Higuain, pulled left along the penalty area, scored with a precision strike off the post. Messi leaped over defender Ermin Bicakic without losing speed and balance before he took the shot.
Switzerland beats Ecuador 2-1
|Switzerland’s Haris Seferovic celebrates his goal against Ecuador on Sunday. ( Xinhua-Yonhap)|
BRASILIA (AP) ― Switzerland grabbed a winner with virtually the final kick to earn a 2-1 victory over Ecuador in the World Cup on Sunday, extending a run of come-from-behind wins that are becoming a theme of the tournament.
With just seconds left in the third and final minute of stoppage time, substitute Haris Seferovic finished off a length-of-the-field move by slamming home a close-range shot.
After wild Swiss celebrations, Ecuador’s shell-shocked players barely had time to restart before the final whistle was blown.
It was the fifth time in the first nine matches in Brazil that a team had come from a goal down to win ― but this was the most dramatic of all the comebacks. France sinks Honduras 3-0
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) ― Karim Benzema scored twice and created a third that was confirmed by goal-line technology as France eased into its World Cup campaign with a 3-0 victory over Honduras on Sunday.
The convincing victory ― albeit against a 10-man team for more than 45 minutes ― was in stark contrast to the team’s performances in South Africa four years ago, when the highly paid squad failed to win a single match and was sent home in disgrace after going on a training strike.
Benzema’s first goal came from the penalty spot just before halftime after Wilson Palacios was sent off with his second yellow card.