LUSAIL, Qatar — Targets from Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez saved Argentina from elimination within the World Cup and defeated Mexico 2-0 on Saturday in Group C.
In entrance of 88,966 followers at Lusail Stadium, the match was at first a nervy one with loads of fouls however a scarcity of alternatives from both facet. Then, within the second half, Messi opened up the scoresheet with an inch-perfect alternative within the sixty fourth minute that put the South People up 1-0.
Within the 87th minute, Fernandez sealed the 2-0 consequence with a fantastic shot that sneaked previous Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
1. Argentina bounce again with first win to maintain World Cup hopes alive
After a stunning 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia of their first match of the group stage, Argentina couldn’t lose in opposition to Mexico and responded with a major consequence at Lusail Stadium.
Initially operating into hurdles with El Tri‘s defensive gameplan by means of a 5-3-2 formation, Messi ultimately pounced on a shot within the second half that set the Lusail Stadium right into a frenzy. El Tri appeared rattled after the purpose, leaving an inevitable probability afterward for Fernandez to make it 2-0 within the dying moments.
The result’s way more than simply the three factors gained. Had Argentina misplaced, the title-contenders would have earned a stunning early exit from the World Cup within the group stage. Most significantly, Messi would have additionally gone residence empty-handed after beforehand noting that this may be his final World Cup.
For now, the hopes of Argentina’s sporting nation reside on.
2. Martino’s tactical experiment for Mexico falls quick
Mexico supervisor Tata Martino raised a couple of eyebrows when he determined to ditch his ordinary 4-3-3 formation and as an alternative go together with a 5-3-2 in opposition to Argentina.
The technique of placing extra numbers in protection appeared to at first frustrate La Albiceleste, who wanted only a little bit of time to determine it out. By the second half, nevertheless, Argentina put Mexico on the ropes with objectives from Messi and Fernandez, leaving El Tri with a extra worrisome path to the knockout spherical.
Now, even when Mexico defeats Saudi Arabia within the closing sport of the group stage, Martino and his males may also have to hope that the rating of the Poland-Argentina works of their favor.
Had El Tri earned only a draw vs. Argentina on Saturday, they’d have then solely wanted three factors in opposition to Saudi Arabia, and never wanted to depend on the opposite consequence.
3. After quiet begin, Messi emerges a hero
The place is Messi? That was the query many had been asking coming into Saturday’s sport and even throughout the first half — however he was there on the Lusail Stadium, scoring one of the crucial essential objectives for Argentina up to now within the 2022 World Cup.
Enjoying with the eagerness of and drive of somebody who did not need his swan music to finish within the group stage, the celebrity was good together with his motion and purpose within the second half. Then minutes earlier than the tip of regulation time, the No. 10 would emerge as soon as once more with an help for Fernandez.
Messi and his crew nonetheless have loads of work to do within the group stage, but it surely’ll be an enormous aid from supporters to see him scoring once more and offering an help in Qatar.
Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa 5, Kevin Alvarez 6, Nestor Araujo 5, Cesar Montes 6, Hector Moreno 5, Jesus Gallardo 5, Hector Herrera 6, Andres Guardado 7, Luis Chavez 6, Hirving Lozano 6, Alexis Vega 6
Subs: Erick Gutierrez 6, Raul Jimenez 6, Uriel Antuna 6, Roberto Alvarado 5
Argentina: 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, Alexis Mac Allister 7, Lautaro Martinez 6
Subs: Enzo Fernandez 8, Julian Alvarez 7, Nahuel Molina 7, Cristian Romero 7, Exequiel Palacios 6
Greatest and worst performers
BEST: Lionel Messi, Argentina
Objective, help and the deserved winner of the Man of the Match: the worldwide celebrity is the explanation why Argentina are nonetheless preventing for a spot within the knockout spherical.
WORST: Jesus Gallardo, Mexico
The wing-back seemed overwhelmed when Argentina roamed onto his space of his protection and infrequently had no points making their well beyond him. Going ahead, he did not present a lot.
Highlights and notable moments
There weren’t any highlights or notable moments within the first half.
Do not consider us? There have been solely three pictures whole (one for Argentina, two for Mexico) and the anticipated objectives, or xG, was the bottom in a half on the 2022 World Cup but. Mexico solely registered a 0.07 xG and Argentina did even worse with 0.05.
The second half appeared to be plodding alongside in the identical method till out of seemingly nowhere, Lionel Messi discovered the again of the web for Argentina.
We can not stress sufficient how little was occurring for different facet within the assault, and the way Messi simply turned and fired in a cut up second from effectively exterior the field and by some means managed to put it completely. That was the purpose that saved Argentina’s World Cup.
The place is Messi?
Messi is HERE pic.twitter.com/XpxXYpBR0p
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 26, 2022
With Argentina up 1-0, the sport state modified — all the things opened up and Argentina was out of the blue on the entrance foot.
Enzo Fernandez dashed any hopes for Mexico of a comeback with a sensational curling strike from the within nook of the field. It was a magnificence to place Argentina up 2-0.
— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) November 26, 2022
After the match: What the gamers and managers mentioned
Argentina’s Lionel Messi on the consequence: “After the goal, we became again who we are. So, it’s great — we needed this result, we needed this euphoria in this game that we had to win.”
Messi on the sport altering: “…Everything came down to two single plays. We knew that today we had to win, that another World Cup started for us and we knew what to do. We cannot let our guard down now.”
Key stats (supplied by ESPN Stats & Info)
Messi has scored 13 objectives for Argentina in 2022, his most ever in a calendar 12 months. (Subsequent finest: 12 objectives in 2012.)
Messi has scored in six straight for Argentina, tying his longest scoring streak for the Albiceleste (from November 2011 to September 2012).
At 21 years and 313 days outdated, Fernandez is the youngest participant to attain for Argentina on the World Cup since Messi in 2006 vs. Serbia and Montenegro (18 years and 358 days outdated).
Mexico: One sport stays in Group C for El Tri, and they’re going to face Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 2 p.m. ET, which can decide if Mexico advances to the knockout spherical or not. El quinto partido (a coveted, long-await fifth sport within the quarterfinals) hangs within the steadiness — they should attain el cuarto (the fourth match) first.
Argentina: Likewise, La Albiceleste end up Group C in opposition to Poland on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 2 p.m. ET. Now that they did not lose to Mexico, a shot on the knockout spherical remains to be in play for Argentina.