Argentina beat Mexico 2-0, revives World Cup hopes
Leo Messi once again came up big for his nation with World Cup elimination on the line.
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Mexico fans brought the noise to the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, but their team could not come out with the win. Lionel Messi and Co. needed a win tonight to avoid elimination and they delivered two second half goals to beat Mexico 2-0, keeping their World Cup hopes alive.
King Leo delivered a beauty in the 64th minute on his left foot for the breakthrough and Benfica youngster Enzo Fernández — with his first international goal — delivered the final nail in the coffin in the 87th minute with a curler from inside the box.
Argentina were looking to avenge their stunning loss to Saudi Arabia in the opener — Argentina’s first loss in three years — as manager Lionel Scaloni made five changes to the lineup.
Guido Rodríguez and Alexis Mac Allister started in the middle and put defenders Marcos Acuña, Gonzálo Montiel and Lisandro Martínez rounded out the back. The attack was unchanged with Messi, Ángel Di María and Lautaro Martínez.
El Tri also switched things up after their opening draw against Poland. Mexico’s lineup was as listed:
Guillermo Ochoa; Jésus Gallardo, Héctor Moreno, Cesar Montes, Nestor Araujo, Kevin Alvarez; Luis Chávez, Andrés Guardado, Hector Herrera; Alexis Vega, Hirving Lozano.
It was a slow start for both Argentina and Mexico, and Argentine midfielder Rodrigo De Paul specifically. He gave the ball away on multiple occasions to Mexico’s attacking three. But it was a scrappy game from both sides overall for the first half and even parts of the early second half, but overall, a pretty uneventful game.
Both teams traded mistakes, lofty and inaccurate passes, and scrappy tackling that resulted in unnecessary fouls. With that, Argentina still looked dangerous anytime they were on the ball with the vast amount of attacking talent available to them. Mexico were able to hold them off for most of the game before the brilliance of Messi shone through and was the difference maker.
Argentina dominated possession 59% to 41%, but both sides were pretty even with their offensive output, except Argentina made their few chances count. Messi and Co. got five shots with their two goals on target. Mexico got four total shots with only one on target.
Argentina started their night at the bottom of Group C after their opening loss, but today’s huge 2-0 win now puts them in second place behind Poland with Saudi Arabia in third after losing to Robert Lewandowski and Co. earlier today, Nov. 26. Mexico now find themselves in last place with one loss and one draw.
It is a huge win for Messi and his teammates with the weight of the nation on their back to deliver a World Cup like Argentine legend Diego Marodona did back in 1986. They walked toward a large group of Argentine fans behind one of the goals and sang at one another and cheered.
Mexico will look to defeat the Saudi’s next Wednesday, Nov. 30, to take third place and possibly second, depending on the Poland and Argentina matchup later that same day.