Stunning goals from Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez saw Argentina defeating Mexico and keeping their 2022 World Cup hopes alive in Qatar on Saturday.
Lionel Scaloni’s side would have been eliminated from the competition had they lost Saturday’s clash following their shock opening day defeat to Saudi Arabia, while Mexico themselves are now on the brink of an exit having been held to a scoreless draw by Poland earlier in their opening game.
It was a first half which was wonderfully scrappy but devoid of any flair, creativity, rhythm or generally quality. It was dominated by sloppy passes, late challenges and nerves. The opening half produced no shots on target and 16 fouls.
Argentina improved after the break and won the game with the encounter’s only true moment of quality; Messi’s strike from outside the area beating Guillermo Ochoa and finding the corner of the net.
Scaloni’s side wrapped up the vital victory late on with a stunning strike from substitute Fernandez.
Recall that late iconic footballer, Diego Maradona, pulled his nation to a sensational World Cup triumph in 1986, with his legacy of propelling Napoli to their only ever two league titles in their history also ensuring that his level of achievement was unlikely to be surpassed.
This will be Lionel Messi’s last World Cup – he will be a 39-year-old by the time the 2026 edition comes around – and football’s most prized asset has continued to allude him. Nobody can doubt the star’s all-time status among the greats, yet glory on this stage would have been the ultimate crown in a stunning career. His dream lives on after his part in Saturday night’s clash.