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World Cup 2022: Messi leads disappointing Argentines to victory against Mexico


Argentina avoid elimination against Mexico, once again Lionel Messi shines. But beyond the exceptional player, the South Americans look frighteningly weak. They are not title favorites in this form.

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Lionel Messi after his goal in the World Cup match against Mexico: a look towards the sky, towards Diego Maradona


IMAGO/Matthias Koch

Messi remains Messi:

Nothing worked for Argentina for a long time.

Nothing at all.

The World Cup on the second day of the group stage, it was within the realm of possibility.

Superstar Lionel Messi also seemed to go down.

He hit corners to the opponent and a free kick well over the goal.

But then came this one Messi moment.

One that he has been throwing in so reliably for years to decide games.

Also and especially those games that his teams would not have won without Messi.

On Saturday evening in the 64th minute of the game it was time again.

Ángel Di María cleared Messi about 20 yards from goal.

He took the ball in a flowing movement, took a quick look and shot the ball flat and precisely into the right corner of the goal.

Then he ran to the Argentinian fans behind the goal and celebrated in a way that is rarely seen from him.

It seemed like a huge load had been lifted from Messi.


Despite a poor performance, Argentina won 2-0 (0-0) against Mexico and has the best chance of reaching the round of 16 despite losing to Saudi Arabia.

Here is the match report.

First half:

It was tough to see what the two teams offered.

Mexico played decidedly rustic, Argentina completely without a plan.

Passes went nowhere, attackers stood on each other's feet, neither player seemed to want the ball.

The Saudi Arabia debacle was clearly on the minds of the Argentines.

Spectacle only in the ranks:

A lot is complained about the atmosphere at this funny autumn World Cup.

Often rightly so, many stadiums are disappointingly empty and quiet.

On Saturday evening there was no sign of World Cup frustration in the Lusail Stadium.

The Argentinian and Mexican fans put on a spectacle in the stands, cheered for the few successful actions and made the tough game a little more bearable.

The marathon man:

On the Mexican side, at least one person had reason to celebrate, albeit briefly: Andrés Guardado.

The 36-year-old veteran missed the start of the World Cup due to injury, but returned to the starting XI against Argentina and is now one of six players to appear in five World Cups.

Guardado played his first World Cup game on June 24, 2006 in Leipzig.

round of 16

He was substituted after 66 minutes.

In the years that followed, Guardado became a pillar and captain of the Mexican team, also playing the World Cups in 2010, 2014, 2018 and now 2022.

Against Argentina, however, he had to go down after around 40 minutes.

Perhaps the appearance against the Albiceleste was his last World Cup appearance.

That would close a circle: In 2006 he and Mexico also played Argentina, when the Mexicans were eliminated in extra time.

By the way, the Argentinians played at that time one who also has five World Cup appearances: Leo Messi.

Speaking of Messi:

"La Pulga" has been compared to Diego Maradona throughout his career.

On Saturday Maradona was once again very present, on Friday it was the second anniversary of his death.

With his appearance against Mexico, Messi now has as many World Cup games under his belt as Maradona, 21. Argentina's shared record.

And even after goals in the World Cup, Messi drew level with the legend Maradona with his eighth goal.

After his goal, Messi cheered heavenward towards Maradona.

Second half:

Argentina were now slightly better in the game.

Di María dribbled again and again, Messi got the balls everywhere.

Beyond the brilliant Messi moment, not much happened on Argentina's offensive for a long time.

It was only shortly before the end that Enzo Fernández put the lid on it with a fine flick.

The template came from Messi.

He is now the youngest player with a goal and an assist in a World Cup finals match and the oldest.

He first achieved this feat against Serbia in 2006, when he was about to turn 19.

On Saturday, Messi was exactly 36 years and 155 days old.

And Mexico?

Disappointed across the board.

The football-mad Central Americans played conservative, wait-and-see football.

A few sliding tackles, a few wide shots into nowhere.

How they wanted to score was their exclusive secret that evening.

Here's how it goes:

Argentina now has group victory in their own hands again.

A win on Wednesday (8 p.m.) against leaders Poland – and the Argentinian football world is back in good order.

But resignation is still possible.

Argentina now have three points, along with Saudi Arabia, who meet Mexico (one point) on Matchday 3.

Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2022-11-26

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