JOHANNESBURG - Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos
Tevez shouldered the burden up front for Argentina again on
Sunday after Lionel Messi was the victim of what coach Diego
Maradona called scandalous fouling in a 3-1 win over Mexico.
Messi has gone four matches without scoring despite playing
brilliantly even when tightly marked and Maradona put the lack
of goals down to Mexico's targeting of the World Player of the
"It's scandalous - they aim at his right leg or his left
and don't look at the ball," Maradona told reporters.
"They kick him terribly and the referee doesn't say anything
Messi came agonisingly close to a second World Cup goal, and
first at these finals, when he brought a diving save from Oscar
Perez with a trademark left-footed shot to the top corner near
The 23-year-old has had a string of near misses which might
have proved costly to his team but for the class of the strikers
he plays with.
Higuain's goal on Sunday took him out on top of the scorers'
list with four having scored a hat-trick in the 4-1 win over
The hard-working Tevez was rewarded with his first two of
the finals even if his first was shrouded in controversy as he
was offside when he headed in Messi's chip but his second was a
brilliant 25-metre drive into the top corner.
"Diego asked me to show more weight as a forward... to think
as a striker and not a midfielder," said the busy Tevez, who
often dropped deep to help the midfield in earlier matches.
Messi, reminded that he had sat forlorn on the bench during
Argentina's defeat on penalties by Germany in the 2006 Berlin
quarter-final, said: "I hope the whole story changes. It would
be nice to be able to play and score my first goal (in South
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