Argentine captain Lionel Messi. (Photo: FIFA WC Twitter)
LUSAIL, QATAR: Following his side’s loss to Argentina in their FIFA World Cup match, Mexico coach Gerardo Martino remarked that when star Argentina striker Lionel Messi gets the ball, he can be very harmful within 30 seconds.
Lionel Messi’s superb long-range strike and Enzo Fernandez’s stunning goal guided Argentina to a dominating victory over Mexico 2-0 in the Group C game at the Lusail Stadium, keeping their FIFA World Cup dream alive.
“When Messi gets the ball, in 30 seconds he can be very harmful,” Sky Sports quoted Martino as saying after the match.
Asked if he felt Mexico had given Messi too much space throughout, Martino responded: “I do not see it that way. I saw there was space when he scored – we made a mistake.”
“I do not think during the match he found many spaces in the last third, but I do understand that Argentina’s goals can change the perspective of what has happened over the 90 minutes,” he said.
“We held our heads high to face a huge opponent in Argentina and I am sure we will play the same way and we will break our backs in the next game,” the Mexican coach concluded.
It may not have been a memorable performance, but Argentina get the win they needed, beating Mexico 2-0 at the Lusail Stadium to keep their hopes of qualification alive.
After their shocking 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia, Argentina knew defeat would mean elimination. They laboured once more until Messi’s 65th-minute intervention.
In a rough and tense match, the 35-year-old, who is likely playing in his final World Cup, scooped up Angel Di Maria’s pass outside the box and fired a crisp shot into the bottom corner to break the score.
Three minutes from time, Argentina secured the victory thanks to a ball from substitute Enzo Fernandez, who cut inside and curled a beautiful goal past Guillermo Ochoa.
Messi then switched roles and became the game’s provider.
The win, which seemed implausible at times during a game marred by continuous fouls and lacking in quality, moves Argentina up to the second position in Group C, a point behind Poland, whom they will play in their final match as they attempt to secure a spot in the round of 16.
As for Mexico, they have to beat Saudi Arabia to have any hope of qualifying. (ANI)