Argentina may not have been in the final match of the World Cup if it weren’t for Javier Mascherano. He made a spectacular sliding save in the closing minutes to stop Arjen Robben from stealing a late goal. His tackle came at a price though, as the Argentine defender stated after Wednesday’s game that he had tore his anus during the slide.
In an otherwise boring game, especially if you’re comparing it to Germany’s blitzkrieg against Brazil the night before, Mascherano’s game-saving tackle was one of the few bright spots of the tilt. Until the shootout, there were only a combined five shots on goal. Germany had scored as many goals in the first thirty minutes than there were decent shots in all of yesterday’s game. Mascherano’s stuff against Robben in the 90th minute provided the only excitement of the match, but it unfortunately cost him his anus (and his innocence).
When reporters asked Mascherano about his heroic play after the game, he simply replied, “me abrí... el ano,” which means, “it tore my anus” in Spanish. His remarks were met with both laughter and cringes. He went on to say, "so the pain..." but no further explanation was necessary.
Mascherano not only played through a broken poop chute, but also a pretty nasty head injury as well. In the first half, Argentina’s central defender and Georginio Wijnaldum collided head first with one another. Mascherano appeared to lose consciousness as he slowly staggered to the ground with a very blank look on his face. Had FIFA’s concussion protocol been the same as the NFL’s, they may not have allowed him to keep playing; but Mascherano stayed in the game and stayed in until the very end. Soccer players are constantly being scrutinized for not being tough; this guy is an exception to that judgment.
With a spot in the World Cup final on the line, Mascherano sacrificed his body to ensure Argentina’s place. The Albicelestes have conceded only three goals in the 2014 competition, including three clean sheets in the elimination games. Despite the attention Lionel Messi has garnered, Mascherano has been their most well rounded player in this tournament. Argentina faces Germany in the championship game on Sunday; expect to see Javier Mascherano and his torn anus in the lineup.