Everything was heading for another complicated game for Argentina in the 2022 World Cup, until Lionel Messi appeared. The number 10 had minimal space in the second half, kicked accurately and pierced Mexico’s boom. Lighter, the team coached by Scaloni expanded and secured a 2-0 victory, today (26), at the Lusail stadium, in Qatar. Enzo Fernández scored the second, a great goal from the edge of the area.
With the victory after the upset in the debut, Argentina moves up to second in the group and arrives in a more comfortable situation for the third round of Group C of the Cup. Now, a simple victory for the albiceleste over Poland guarantees a place in the round of 16. In general terms, Argentina depends only on itself to advance to the knockout stage.
Mexico is in a more delicate situation. Need to beat Saudi Arabia in the last round and keep an eye on the other game. If Poland wins, it would advance to the round of 16 with a win. In the event of an Albiceleste victory, they will have to overcome the Poles in goal difference.
In the 3rd round of Group C, Poland vs Argentina and Saudi Arabia vs Mexico will be on the same day and time. Both games take place next Wednesday (30), at 4 pm (Brasília time).
Messi relieves Argentina
Nervousness was the main opponent of the Argentine team, which still had a Mexican boom ahead. The lack of approach, speed and clear chances was resolved in an act by the number 10: Messi received it with a slight space, sent it to the back of Ochoa’s net and relieved the team on the field.
Enzo Fernández extends with great goal
At 42 of the second half, Enzo Fernández received from the edge of the area. He went over the marking and crossed the corner, with no chances for Ochoa. The goalkeeper even tries, but he can’t avoid the goal of the 21-year-old promise.
Argentina struggles to create in the 1st half
Mexico started by squeezing the ball out and made it difficult for Argentina in the opening minutes. Shortly afterwards, further back, the Mexican team set up a line of 5, populated the entrance to the defensive area and complicated the Argentine offensive system. There were only two shots on goal (one on target), with no clear chance for the Hermanos. The best Mexican opportunity was a free kick by Vega; Emiliano Martínez made a beautiful save.
Messi equals Maradona’s numbers in World Cups
Upon entering the field this Saturday afternoon, Messi equaled Maradona’s number of games in World Cups. The current number 10 has the same 21 matches in the World Cup. The Argentine idols, coincidentally or not, scored eight goals each in the cut. The German Lothar Matthäus is the participation record holder, with 25 matches in World Cups between 1982 and 1998.
Guardado reaches Messi and CR7 mark
Midfielder Andrés Guardado equaled a feat by Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He was a starter and registered his fifth participation in World Cups, a mark reached by the stars also in the competition in Qatar. Participation on the field, however, was quick: he felt uncomfortable and had to be substituted in the 40th minute of the first half. Érick Gutiérrez entered.
Scaloni changes the team, which suffers from boom
After the upset in the first round, Lionel Scaloni decided to change the team. With five changes, the team gained support from the sides, with Montiel and Acuña. The full-backs gave options to Messi, Di Maria and Lautaro Martínez, who faced a line of five Mexican defenders. The nervousness before the playmaker opened the scoring, however, hindered the offensive creation.
With a line of 5, Mexico ‘forgets’ to attack
From the starting lineup, it was already possible to project Tata Martino’s idea for the duel against Argentina. A line of five in defense, supported by three more players in midfield had one objective: to stop Lionel Messi and company.
On the way back from the break, Mexico retreated even further and ‘forgot’ to attack, even on the counterattack. After conceding the goal, he rushed forward in a disorganized manner and was unable to bother goalkeeper Martínez.
Argentina’s first victory in the 2022 World Cup registered the largest audience in Qatar so far: 88,966 people followed the duel at the Lusail stadium. The mark surpasses Brazil’s debut in the World Cup, which took place in the same stadium. Against Serbia, the team prevailed and won in front of 88,103 spectators. It was, until then, the biggest audience of the tournament.
ARGENTINA 2 X 0 MEXICO
2nd round of World Cup Group C
Date and time: November 26, 2022 (Saturday), at 4 pm (Brasília time)
Place: Lusail Iconic Stadium, in Lusail (QAT)
Referee: Daniel Orsato (Italy)
Assistants: Ciro Carbone (Italy) and Alessandro Giallatini (Italy)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (Italy)
Yellow cards: Montiel (Argentina); Nestor Araujo, Alvarado (Mexico)
Public: 88,966 people
Goals: Lionel Messi, at 19′ T2, and Enzo Fernández, at 42′ T2
ARGENTINA: Emiliano Martinez; Montiel (Molina), Lisandro Martínez, Otamendi, Acuña; Guido Rodríguez (Enzo Fernández), Mac Allister (Palacios), De Paul, Di María (Cristian Romero); Messi and Lautaro Martínez (Julian Alvarez). Technician: Lionel Scaloni.
MEXICO: Ochoa; Kevin Álvarez (Antuna), Néstor Araújo, Montes, Héctor Moreno, Gallardo; Luis Chávez, Héctor Herrera, Guardado (Érick Gutiérrez); Vega (Raúl Jimenez) and Lozano (Alvarado). Technician: Tata Martino.