without convincing, Lionel Messi’s Argentina remains alive
Against Mexico, Lionel Messi’s Argentina had no choice. And had to compose, Saturday, November 26, with a passionate Mexican public at the Lusail stadium. But at the end of a volatile meeting, a very pale Albiceleste won (2-0) for its second match in group C. Not enough to convince, hours after the Blues’ big win over Denmark in group D; but enough to stay alive this 2022 World Cup.
Losing to everyone’s surprise when they entered the tournament in Qatar against Saudi Arabia (1-2), Messi and his teammates knew what was expected of them. Those who assumed their world title dreams had no choice but to respond to the present. “We need to turn the page and we’ve done it”, warned Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni the previous day. For him, after the accident in the first battle, where his troops dominated before losing to a “alignment of stars” in favor of their opponent (according to the French coach of the Saudis, Hervé Renard), there is no question of changing everything. “Our style is non-negotiable. We took a hit, but we have to keep our values. » And to announce that the Albiceleste “will play in the usual way. »
In a Lusail stadium that became a cauldron with sometimes Mexican, sometimes Argentinian accents, the very vertical stands of the enclosure that will host the final competition took part in the show. They took it well in the first period, because the meeting was chopped. If the Argentinians immediately tried to speed up, to erase their disappointment on Tuesday, they came up against a compact Tri.
Again the light comes from Lionel Messi
Linking aggressiveness and play, Mexico caused worries for Angel Di Maria’s partners. In a game where many players found themselves looking at the grass quite closely, the chances seemed as numerous as the rainy season in Qatar. With the only shot on target a free kick from Mexican striker Alexis Vega at the end of the first period, the start of the game lacked rhythm, if not intensity.
Punished by Saudi Arabia in the impact of their entry into the run, the Argentinians tried to rectify the situation in the second half. More enthusiastic – not too chaotic – Lionel Scaloni’s players raised their voices. If they did not multiply the chances, the compact Argentines pressed on their opponents, and waited for a flash from their undisputed leader to make the difference.
“Messi is 35 years old, and the matches will follow very quickly, observed Omar Da Fonseca before the World Cup. And Argentina does not carry enough danger besides him, he will be forced to sublimate himself. » Brilliantly chipping away at Mexico’s defence, which clung to its tails throughout the meeting, the Paris Saint-Germain player proved right to the former Argentinian player, now a beIN Sports consultant. Usually, the light comes from him.
Well served outside the penalty area, the Argentinian captain fired a crushing shot in the middle of a forest of legs, leaving the Mexican goalkeeper with no chance (1-0, 64).e). Filled with many fans wearing his tunic, the Qatari stadium let his joy explode. Under the “Messi, Messi, Messi” victorious from the 88,966 spectators who won his goal – the second largest attendance in the history of the World Cup, according to FIFA, after the World Cup final in the United States in 1994 (94,194 spectators) –, the seven-time Ballon d he gold showed that, at the age of 35, he does not intend to give up his chances of winning the most prestigious international trophy. The one in which he has been running since the beginning of his career.
Masters of their destiny
Eliminated in 2006 and 2010 from the World Cup by Messi’s Argentina, the Mexicans thoroughly played their chances. If their coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino is from Rosario, like Messi, the players of Tri will not be against destroying the dreams of the Argentine captain. After their draw against Poland for their debut in the World Cup (0-0), teammates in a “Memo” Ochoa less imperial than against the Poles were not able to be dangerous.
At the end of the game, newcomer Enzo Fernandez arrived to prove the Argentinian’s success. In a corner played in three stages, the midfielder moved to a stepover, before the small Mexican net was cleared (2-0, 87).e).
Far from convincing, the Albiceleste gave up the essentials against a tough opponent. To secure a place in the round of 16 – where they could cross paths with the Blues, like in 2018 – the Argentinian need to win against Poland on Wednesday night. Once again masters of their fate, Lionel Messi’s teammates avoided the worst. It is now up to them to write the rest of their story.
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