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FIFAWC 2022: Magical Messi inspires Argentina to revive World Cup hopes

Argentina defeat Mexico to bounce back from defeat

Lionel Messi proved his worth to Argentina once again as he led La Albiceleste to a 2-0 win over Mexico to revive their hopes of qualifying from the group stage. The PSG star was impressive for the American champions as they bounced back from their opening-day defeat.

Argentina were facing a must-win encounter after their shock defeat at the hands of minnows Saudi Arabia. They were up against a Mexico side that had battled Poland to a standstill in their opener four days ago.

Argentina struggled to create openings against a disciplined Mexican side managed by their former manager Tata Martino. The Copa America holders failed to register a single shot on target in the opening 45 minutes as they were limited to fruitless passing moves against the well-drilled Mexicans.

Mexico came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half as Alexis Vega struck a fine free-kick which had Emiliano Martinez scrambling, but the Aston Villa goalkeeper held firm.

It took a moment of Messi magic for La Albiceleste to break the deadlock and the 35-year-old delivered in style. Receiving the ball from Angel Di Maria 20 yards from goal, the PSG star set himself before arrowing an effort into the bottom corner to score a goal reminiscent of the one he scored at Wembley in the 2011 UEFA Champions League final. The goal came in the 64th minute of a finely-poised encounter.

Scoring gave Argentina a boost and they began to boss possession as Mexico looked to throw men forward in a bid to find an equaliser. The South Americans failed to take advantage with counter-attacks as El Tri managed to hold their own.

Their resistance was finally broken in some style after 87 minutes as rising star Enzo Fernandez scored his first international goal brilliantly. Receiving the ball at the corner of the box from Messi following a short corner routine, the 21-year-old midfielder performed a quick step over before shifting the ball to his right and hitting a perfect dipping shot over the despairing dive of Guillermo Ochoa.

Argentina’s win over Mexico puts them in second place in their group behind Poland and leaves them in an advantageous position heading into the final round of matches. A win for La Albiceleste will guarantee them top spot in the group.

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