Graham Hunter: Your country needs YOU – so just think how Messi must feel

Apologies in advance but I’m going to put you under pressure this beautiful Friday.

The kind of pressure brought by playing in the stadium which is at the second highest altitude in the world, when your entire nation is relying on you (but is ready to stigmatise you as a coward, an idiot, a traitor, a failure if you fail), when your deadliest rival is at the top of the group and ready to mock cruelly, when it’s win or bust and when within the first minute you go 1-0 down to a team which beat you 2-0 at your home stadium earlier in the campaign.

The kind of pressure which Leo Messi was under in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Brutal, exhausting, stressful, nightmarish – but, it turns out, pure fuel to the engine of this absolutely astonishing footballer.

Let me put it in a little bit more context.

Poor old Gordon Strachan, legend of these parts and still a football mind of value and wisdom, was brutally flayed for not taking Scotland, who haven’t made it to the big boys’ table since 1998, to this World Cup, irrespective of the fact that in recent games our national team have played intelligent, winning, determined and dramatic football.

Scotland took 1.8 points per match in our group. Argentina took 1.55 points per match.

Scotland scored 1.7 goals per game, the Albiceleste, World Cup finalists in 2014, winners in 1978 and 1986, only scored 1.05 goals per game.

Strachan’s team had a better defensive record, had a better goal difference and while Argentina scored two goals more than Leigh Griffiths & Co they took EIGHT extra games to do so.

None of this is meant to say we don’t deserve a thorough inquest as to why the Tartan Army aren’t travelling (again). Nor is it to suggest that Scotland …read more

Source:: Evening Express – All articles

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