By Greg Stobart in Rio de Janeiro
Asmir Begovic says Bosnia-Herzegovina tried to put three men on Lionel Messi but they still could not stop the "best player in the world" from scoring a superb solo goal for Argentina on Sunday.
Messi scored the decisive strike in the second half of Argentina’s 2-1 victory over Bosnia in the Group F opener at the Maracana – and Begovic felt the Barcelona striker was the main difference between the teams.
“We lost but the difference was the best player in the world,” the Stoke goalkeeper told Goal.
“Every time he got the ball, he made a difference. You can feel the pace of his play, the power he has. We tried to get three people around him every time he got the ball, but he shook everyone off.
“He makes that kind of difference. They have match-winners all around the pitch but Messi was special. Unfortunately we couldn’t keep him out.”
Asked whether Argentina should be considered favourite to win the World Cup, Begovic added: “You can see the difference in quality. Especially up front, they come at you from all different angles.
“I see them as one of the favourites. They can go a long way but they’ve got a lot of pressure and expectation so they have got to live with it.”
Bosnia were loudly backed by the locals in Rio de Janeiro and Begovic hopes the World Cup debutants can become supporters’ second team during the tournament.
“The atmosphere was pretty electric, getting to play at the Maracana was pretty special. It’s what the World Cup is all about,” Begovic added.
“The more support we can get, the better. If we keep playing well, we will attract more fans too. If we can be their second team, that would be nice.”