Updated June. 27, 2014 07:34
This happened at the match between Argentina, a soccer powerhouse in Latin America, and Nigeria, a dark horse from Africa, held at the Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre, Brazil on Thursday. Argentinean star player Lionel Messi (27, Barcelona) shot a free kick amazingly curved inward with his left foot from the right side of the arch circle, and scored a goal during the injury time of the first half when the game was tied 1-1. He has scored four goals in three matches. What would Brazilian soccer star Neymar da Silva (22, Barcelona), who also scored four goals in three matches, have thought at the moment? It must have been happy anxiety that none of the players who had to leave Brazil after failing to advance to the round of 16 can even imagine.
The most honorable prize accorded by FIFA to an individual player is the "Golden Shoe (or Golden Booth, top scorer)." "The Golden Ball (most valuable player)" reflects judgment of the media to some extent because the winner is picked through a vote of reporters. But the Golden Shoe is truly the grand prize of the World Cup in that an individual players capacity is evaluated objectively. Although it is a prize awarded to an individual, it is not the one that is presented for a player`s stellar performance alone. Victory comes from a struggle that is made with support from the entire team. If a team disqualifies, there is effectively no chance for a player of the team to win this prize.
"A battle of survivors," which the disqualified can never know, begins. Messi, who is considered the best player of this century, scored two goals on the day, and tied Neymar in score record with four goals overall at the Brazil World Cup. After scoring his first goal of this years event at the first Group F match against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Messi scored another goal in his teams second group match against Iran. He also scored two goals in the game against Nigeria, bringing his team to the round of 16. Neymar also scored one goal each in the matches against Croatia and Mexico, and two goals in the last Group A match against Cameroon, thus tying with Messi as No. 1 in overall goal records.
Arjen Robben (30, Bayern Munich) whose nickname is Bolt in the ground for running like a sprinter after scoring his teams fifth goal in the teams first Group B match against Spain on June 14, and Robin van Persie (31, Manchester United) from the Netherlands, Thomas Muller (25, Bayern Munich) of Germany, and Karim Benzema (27, Real Madrid) of France have also scored three goals each, jumping into the race to win the Golden Shoe. Xherdan Shaqiri (23, Switzerland), who had a hat-trick in the last Group E match against Honduras on Thursday, also has a chance to win the honor. However, he stands little chance to become the top scorer unless his team scores unexpectedly multiple goals in a single match. For this reason, Neymar, Messi and Roben, who are members of the leading contenders, are considered leading candidates who may clinch the "Golden Shoe."