Originally posted on Fox Soccer
By By Leander Schaerlaeckens  |  Last updated 11/16/13
If Argentina played but Lionel Messi didn't turn up, did it really happen? The misfortune that befell Argentina's tiny magician, the thigh muscle tear hear around the world, has reverberated throughout the soccer universe with an unsettling rapidity, as if the game of soccer were played by one man alone. And indeed, the upshots have proved many. For starters: the sad turnout at MetLife Stadium, the cavernous 82,500-seat home of the NFL 's Giants and Jets , for Argentina-Ecuador on Friday night. If the announced attendance was 49,165, the evidence provided by echoes and the naked eye made that feel like a generous count. Certainly, the vast majority of those that did come out were clad in Ecuador's yellow. On the last occasions Messi showed up here, against the USA in March 2011 and against Brazil in June 2012, every seat in the house had been taken. But his absence was felt all the more acutely on the field. With Brazil qualified automatically as hosts, Argentina was the best tea...
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