Heroic Messi rescues Argentina’s World Cup as Mexico’s tactics fail.
Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez scored to preserve Argentina from elimination in Group C.
Before 88,966 people at Lusail Stadium, the match was tense with several fouls but little chances. Messi opened the scoring in the second half with a perfectly-placed shot in the 64th minute.
Fernandez completed the 2-0 win with a stunning strike in the 87th minute.
1. Argentina’s triumph keeps World Cup dreams alive
Argentina couldn’t lose against Mexico after a dramatic 2-1 setback to Saudi Arabia in their first group round encounter.
Messi pounced on a strike in the second half that set the Lusail Stadium ablaze. El Tri were shaken following the score, allowing Fernandez to make it 2-0 late.
Three points aren’t the whole story. If Argentina lost, they would have been eliminated in the group stage. Messi would have gone home empty-handed after declaring this his last World Cup.
Argentine athletes still have hope.
2. Martino’s Mexico approach fails
Tata Martino’s decision to use a 5-3-2 system against Argentina raised a few concerns.
La Albiceleste required some time to adjust to the approach of stacking the defence. Messi and Fernandez scored in the second half to make Mexico’s journey to the knockout phase more difficult.
News and features about World Cup 2022 Mexico’s fans in Qatar despite low-profile team
Even if Mexico beats Saudi Arabia in the last group game, Martino and his players must hope Poland beats Argentina.
El Tri only needed three points against Saudi Arabia with a draw against Argentina on Saturday.
3. Messi emerges as a hero
Messi? Many wondered about him before Saturday’s game and throughout the first half, but he scored one of Argentina’s most vital goals in the 2022 World Cup.
The superstar’s second-half movement and goal showed he didn’t want his career to end at the group stage. The No. 10 then assisted Fernandez minutes later.
Messi and his squad still have work to do in the group stage, but his goal and assist in Qatar will be a comfort to fans.
Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa, Kevin Alvarez, Nestor Araujo, Cesar Montes, Hector Moreno, Jesus Gallardo, Hector Herrera, Andres Guardado, Luis Chavez, Hirving Lozano, Alexis Vega.
Roberto Alvarado, Erick Gutierrez, Raul Jimenez, Uriel Antuna, 5
Emiliano Martinez 7, Gonzalo Montiel 6, Nicolas Otamendi 7, Lisandro Martinez 7, Marcos Acuna 7, Rodrigo de Paul 6, Guido Rodriguez 7, Angel Di Maria 7, Lionel Messi 9
Enzo Fernandez (8), Julian Alvarez (7, Nahuel Molina/7, Cristian Romero/7, Exequiel Palacios (6)
The worldwide superstar’s goal, assist, and Man of the Match award keep Argentina in the tournament.
Mexico’s Jesus Gallardo
When Argentina invaded his defence, the wing-back appeared overwhelmed and was easily passed. He didn’t contribute much afterwards.
First-half highlights were nonexistent.
Confused? The predicted goals, or xG, was the lowest in a half in the 2022 World Cup. Mexico and Argentina both had 0.07 xG.
Lionel Messi scored for Argentina out of nowhere in the second half.
We can’t emphasise enough how little happened for the other side in attack, and how Messi turned and shot from outside the box and placed it brilliantly. It was Argentina’s World Cup-saving goal.
With Argentina leading 1-0, the game opened up as Argentina took the lead.
Enzo Fernandez’s looping shot from the box shattered Mexico’s comeback dreams. Argentina’s 2-0 lead was beautiful.
Lionel Messi, Argentine, remarked after the match: “I’m happy.” “We became ourselves after the score. We needed this victory and enthusiasm to win this game.”
Messi on game-changing: “Two plays decided everything. We knew we had to win today since another World Cup began for us. We can’t relax.”
• Messi has scored 13 goals for Argentina in 2022, his highest ever. (Alternative: 2012 aims)
• Messi has scored six consecutive times for Argentina, matching his greatest stretch (from November 2011 to September 2012).
• Fernandez, 21, is Argentina’s youngest World Cup scorer since Messi in 2006 vs. Serbia and Montenegro (18 years and 358 days old).
• Mexico had had 1 or less points after two group-stage games in 1978, when it lost all three.
· Mexico hasn’t scored in four consecutive World Cup games since the previous tournament. Mexico hasn’t gone scoreless in their first two World Cup group games since 1962.
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