Lionel Messi Career

World Cup 2006

The injury that kept him from playing for two months at the end of the 2005/06 league jeopardised his presence at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Nevertheless, Messi was selected in the Argentina squad for the tournament on May 15 2006. He also played in the farewell match against the Argentinian U-20 team for fifteen minutes and a friendly against Angola from the 64th minute.[18][19]

Messi witnessed Argentina's opening match win against Ivory Coast from the bench because manager Pekerman wanted to shield him from the pressure.[20] In the next match against Serbia and Montenegro, he came on as a substitute for Maxi Rodríguez in the 74th minute. In doing so he became the youngest player to represent Argentina at a World Cup. He assisted Hernán Crespo's goal within minutes of entering the game and also scored the final goal in the 6-0 victory. This goal made him the youngest scorer in the 2006 World Cup and the sixth youngest scorer in World Cup history, Pelé being the youngest.[21] Messi started in Argentina's following 0-0 tie against the Netherlands. Fellow striker Carlos Tevez and he were not allowed much space by the Dutch defence, which prevented him from causing any damage and he was substituted in the 69th minute.[22]

In the following game against Mexico, Messi came on as a substitute for Javier Saviola in the 84th minute, with the score tied 1-1. He appeared to score a goal, but was ruled offside. Argentina proceeded to win the game 2-1 in extra time.[23] Messi spent the entire quarter-finals match against Germany, which Argentina lost in a penalty shootout, on the bench.[

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