It was supposed to be all about the world’s best player. The stage was set for Lionel Messi, the little Argentine following in the footsteps of his compatriot and inspiration Diego Maradona in almost single-handedly dragging his side to glory against a team of Germans. But instead it became about the world’s best team.
Instead, Messi would trudge up the Maracana’s long flight of steps 120 minutes later, not to collect football’s most coveted trophy, but to pick up a barely-deserved Golden Ball award, seen by some as a token gesture in the wake of a disappointing final for the four-time Ballon d’Or winner. Messi failed to crack even a half-smile, perhaps knowing that the decision to give him the award would be deeply scrutinised.
To the game, and much of it was disappointing when compared the rest of the tournament, or at least its early stages. Perhaps understandably, given what was at stake, it was a largely tense affair.