Argentina Keeps World Cup Dreams Alive, As Lionel Messi Inspires Team To A 2-0 Victory Against Mexico In Group C.

Lionel Messi put up a masterclass performance by scoring a goal and providing an assist, as he inspires Argentina to a hard-fought 2-0 win over Mexico in their second Group C game of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Argentina who are one of the tournaments favourites entered the game at Doha's Lusail Stadium on Saturday night hoping to bounce back from a stunning defeat in their opening game against Saudi Arabia last Tuesday.

The Albiceleste were faced with possible group stage elimination had they lost this game to Mexico and end their hopes of reaching the last 16 after only two games.

Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni had sought to shake things up and improve the squad following the Saudi Arabia defeat, making five changes to his team, with Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez and Brighton's Alexis Mac Allister among those included.

There seems to be no sign of improvement afterwards, following a dire first half, with Messi unable to influence proceedings, the Copa America champions looked flat and disjointed, picking up from where they left off in Tuesday's game.

The opening period did not live up to the match’s expectations, with neither team wanting to commit too many players forward. Mexico’s high-pressing game stifled most of their opponents’ attack and Argentinian talisman Messi struggled to find any space to manoeuvre in a congested midfield.

Mexico suffered a serious blow, when skipper Andres Guardado, a veteran of five World Cups who has been a commanding presence in midfield, was taken off injured in the 42nd minute.

The second half continued in the same pattern with Argentina failing to make things happen and Mexico sitting deep and hoping for the best, it became clear that a moment of individual brilliance is what was needed to win the game.

When Argentina needed him the most, Lionel Messi kept his word and didn't leave his team or their fans stranded, as he produced a moment of trademark magic when he took one touch to control a pass from Di Maria with his left foot before rifling a superb long-range strike past Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa into the bottom corner from 20 yards to open the scoring in the 64th minute.

This sent a wild celebration among the supporters of Argentina in a crowd of 88,966 as their World Cup campaign got back on track.

The goal for the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, saw him equalled Diego Armando Maradona’s Argentina record of 21 matches and eight goals at the World Cup.

The only difference is that Maradona managed to secure a World Cup title for his home country in 1986 and reached the final in 1990, while Messi has only advanced to the final in 2014, but unfortunately lost to Germany, just like Maradona in Italy.

The 35-year-old, playing at what is expected to be his last World Cup, would not stop there as he turned provider for substitute Enzo Fernandez in the 87th minute to wrap up the three points for Argentina and clinch their first win of this World Cup.

In doing so, Fernandez became the youngest player to score at a World Cup for Argentina since Messi himself in 2006.

Mexico who also needed a favourable win, offered little in response, registering only four shots over the course of the game, leaving Argentina to celebrate a victory that maintains their hopes of qualifying for the last 16.

"Today another World Cup starts for Argentina,"... Messi said after the being named the Man of the Match. 

"I tell people the same thing, that they continue to believe. Today we did what we had to do.

"We had no other choice. We had to win so that we depended only on ourselves... added the PSG's forward.

"The first half we didn't play as we should and in the second half, when we calmed down, we started to play the ball better and after the goal we went back to being what we are."

Argentina now need a must win result in their tough and final Group C game against leaders Poland who boast of a great goalscoring legend in striker Robert Lewandowski.

Despite the Barcelona forward Lewandowski having over 600 goals in his professional career, he had just scored his first-ever World Cup goal for his country, as Poland defeated Saudi Arabia to go too of Group C earlier in the day.

Mexico on the other hand, who have now lost all four of their World Cup clashes with Argentina, have one point and must beat Saudi Arabia, who have three points, to have any chance of making the Round of 16, as they have in the past seven World Cups.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.