Early on Wednesday morning all eyes were fixed on Lionel Messi. His ticket for the World Cup was in his hands and only he could 'buy it'. And how he did: scoring three goals and leading Argentina directly to Russia next summer. Let them criticise him again back in his homeland if they dare.
But, meanwhile, in Brazil, the ‘Seleçao’ were taking on Chile. Tite, the Brazil coach, picked his strongest team, which meant, once again, Paulinho leading the team from midfield. The Barcelona midfielder opened the scoring and laid the path to victory. The form which provoked his move to Barça remains in tact and he's still giving everything on every game -- he's the Brazil team's top scorer, along with Neymar.
In two months, he has demonstrated that he's a footballer for Barça and when he played with Brazil we were blinded by the forwards and simply didn't see the work he was doing. His goal also ended any doubts over whether Brazil would let Chile win in order to make things more difficult for Argentina to qualify. In fact, his goal served as an assist for his teammate Messi, 4,000km away.
It seems the FIFA virus has been beaten during this break and instead of players coming back in bandages and limping, they're returning, above all the player from South America, with an injection of positive energy.