Messi Lifts Spirits of Argentines, Even Those Without Tickets

It was another masterwork in Brazil from an exquisite player who once reserved his best material for his club team, Barcelona. But Lionel Messi is without doubt the leader and inspiration of this Argentine team.

updated: June 26, 2014 10:38 IST
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Lionel Messi hits a rebound to find a goal in the fourth minute against Nigeria.

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Porto Alegre: An estimated 50,000 Argentines completed the trek to this World Cup city by Wednesday morning. Many of the soccer pilgrims were wearing long faces along with their Lionel Messi jerseys as they roamed the parks and the streets and took in the hazy view of Guaiaba Lake while carrying hand-lettered signs that read, "Compro" ("I'm buying").

"It's shameful; the scalpers are asking for 1,200 to 1,500 dollars for a ticket with a face value of no more than 100," said Cintia Perri, a young woman from Buenos Aires who had driven 20 hours to get here and spent the night in her car in a nearby camping site.

But Messi would soon lift the mood of his sleep-deprived, ticket-deprived compatriots. (Match highlights)

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