Everyone wanted something extra from Lionel Messi and Argentina in their last group stage match against Nigeria. Well, after they came away with a win the statistics backup what we saw on the pitch. In his first two games against Iceland and Croatia, Messi ran around 7,600 meters across 96 minutes in each game.
Both games didn’t really go as Argentina planned and made things dire heading into their last group stage match. Against Nigeria, Messi came out on fire and ended up running a total of 8,702 meters in 96 minutes, according to Fifa’s match stats.
Just because you run more doesn’t mean that you’ve necessarily played much better or done more. However, when you see what Messi did via the eye test, the running statistics are a nice metric of how well he really played and the effort he put into the match.