Lionel Messi has stepped up in the important moments to win games for Argentina at this World Cup. He is a player who offers something different to Argentina, but the team needs to grow as a unit and I’m convinced they will do that as the World Cup moves into the knockout phase.
I was also very happy with the performance of Sergio Romero against Iran. In a World Cup, when you have a player like Messi who can win you any game, plus a goalkeeper who is growing with each match, that’s very important.
At a tournament like this one, if your goalkeeper is on form and your most decisive player is also on form, that gives you confidence at both ends of the pitch. It’s a weapon all teams would like to have.
Against defensive rivals, the best solution for Argentina is the coach Alejandro Sabella, who is with these players day in, day out. Not all games will be the same, in any case, and we knew before the World Cup that we would come up against these systems which are very difficult to break down.
Overall, the Latin American teams have responded better in a South American country, with Costa Rica, Mexico and USA, along with the South American sides, all coping better in Brazil.
The elimination of England and Italy also shows that it’s the Latin Americans who have adapted better to the conditions in the zone.
But I don’t think the climate has a bearing. Instead of heat or humidity, I believe it’s because of the atmosphere in the stadiums. The Latin American teams are used to playing with that warm atmosphere in the stands. It motivates you, invites you to rebel, to insist and to become even stronger – as well as the boost you receive by seeing so many people supporting you.
I don’t think the climate affects that. The sides doing the best are the ones who think most as a team – like Costa Rica, like Mexico, like Uruguay, who are there in the last 16 once again despite all the difficulties they had after losing their first game.
It has been a fabulous World Cup so far. There have been lots of goals and we have seen the teams are setting out to attack, which is a great thing. In their respective strategies, all of the teams at this tournament are thinking more about attacking then defending and it’s all much more open and dynamic for those watching in the stands or on television.