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Lionel Messi, Argentina beat Mexico FIFA World Cup group Qatar

LUSEL, Qatar (AP) – Lionel Messi grabbed and waved his jersey in entrance of celebratory Argentina followers, then blew a kiss and appeared up on the sky.

Messi scored some of the essential objectives of his profession to offer Argentina a 2-0 win over Mexico on Saturday to arrange his facet’s World Cup possibilities.

His dream of profitable soccer’s greatest prize, maybe his final try, remains to be alive.

Messi latched on to Angel Di Maria’s cross and fired into the underside nook from 25 meters (yards) to offer Argentina the lead within the sixty fourth minute.

His arms outstretched, he ran in direction of the celebrating group supporters behind the objective and was quickly caught by his teammates. He waved his arms in emotional response to attain his 93rd – and maybe most essential – worldwide objective.

“We needed to win at present, realizing that one other World Cup was beginning for us,” Messi mentioned, “and we knew learn how to do it.”

Substitute Enzo Fernandez scored the second objective within the 87th minute, as Argentina suffered a 2-1 defeat by Saudi Arabia in one of many greatest World Cup upsets of all time.

Argentina are second in Group C forward of Wednesday’s ultimate sport towards first-placed Poland and may have a win to advance.

“We will not let our guard down anymore,” Messi mentioned. “All our matches are finals now. We will not fiddle.”

It was Messi’s eighth World Cup objective, equaling rivals Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Maradona – the Argentine nice to whom he’s typically in contrast – on the match.

For some, Messi must win the World Cup – the one main trophy lacking from his assortment – to hitch the ranks of Pele and Maradona as soccer’s best ever gamers. Because of this win, it may possibly nonetheless occur.

“We have recognized for years that he is the most effective participant on this planet,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni mentioned. “Messi ought to take pleasure in this World Cup. All of the followers are blissful to see him play.”

Scaloni made 5 adjustments to inject some extra power into the group from the Saudi Arabia sport however initially it proved to be a tense sport that lacked high quality. Argentina’s sport was gradual and Mexico had little bother stopping the opponent’s assaults.

Messi is commonly seen transferring across the subject and has two defenders each time he takes the ball. Earlier than the tip of the primary half, his face confirmed frustration as he pleaded along with his teammates to loosen up.

Certainly, Messi’s objective was the primary to be scored in area.

Argentina followers hugged one another within the 89,000-seat Lucelle Stadium. Some cried. Argentina defender Lisandro Martinez fell to the bottom and was seen burying his face within the turf.

“I do not suppose he discovered a lot area within the ultimate third of the sector in the course of the match,” Mexico coach Gerardo Martinez, who led Argentina to his native nation from 2014-16, mentioned of Messi. “However it solely takes just a few seconds to make a distinction.”

The tempo of the sport modified utterly and Mexico have been all of the sudden ragged, with substitute striker Julian Alvarez proving more practical than Lautaro Martinez for Argentina.

It was Fernandez’s first objective for Argentina and it was glorious. He appeared to go left earlier than transferring the ball onto his proper foot and curling a shot excessive past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

Argentina’s substitutes took to the sector to hitch within the celebrations in the identical stadium the place there was big disappointment after the shock defeat by Saudi Arabia.

“Towards Poland, we’ll attempt to …,” Scaloni mentioned earlier than correcting himself. “No, we’ll win this match.”

Mexican longevity

Mexico midfielder Andres Guardardo turned the sixth male participant to look in 5 World Cups. The 36-year-old follows two Mexicans – Antonio Carbajal and Rafa Marquez – in addition to Lothar Matthaus, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. As a result of harm, Guardardo didn’t final the primary half as he entered the sector within the forty second minute.

Group permutation

Poland lead Argentina and Saudi Arabia by one level a sport. Mexico is final and can face Saudi subsequent.

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Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80

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AP World Cup Protection: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni made 5 adjustments to inject some extra power into the group from the Saudi Arabia sport however initially it did not make a lot of a distinction.

The momentum of the sport modified utterly after Messi’s objective, his 93rd worldwide and his second objective of the match after a penalty towards Saudi Arabia.

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Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80

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AP World Cup Protection: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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