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Argentina lifts a tremendous weight off

Showed up Leo Messi to resolve the matter, removing Argentina of the tremendous mess he had gotten into after his unexpected bump against Saudi Arabia (1-2) and reestablish the panorama of the albiceleste team in Qatar 2022, with a long-suffering victory that now leaves on the ropes Mexico. That is enough for Messi, practically the only argument —with the permission of Enzo Fernández, who scored a flag goal— that Lionel Scaloni’s team threw to knock down a timorous rival, resigned to his fate from the outset and who He is left with one foot out of the World Cup, although not according to the numbers.

Argentina has risen. They can even finish as first in the group if they beat Poland on the last day. Everything will be as it should in that case and the setback against Arabia will have been a temporary setback, an accident. And it is that the unthinkable bump against the Saudis had called into question Scaloni’s World Cup project. A blow that left the entire environment of the Albiaceleste touched, which has arrived in Qatar 2022 full of illusion. Time runs against Messi and its flame is exhausted by natural imperative. For this reason, this World Cup is assumed to be the star’s last dance.

Something had to change Argentina after the doubts that Arabia dusted off. The technician who implanted a radical revolution in its eleven. five changes. Five new faces for the appointment with Mexico. Three in the rear, indicated in the first game, and two in the center of the field. Gonzalo Montiel replaced Nahuel Molina on the right side, Marcos Acuña replaced Nicolás Tagliafico on the left and Lisandro Martínez replaced Cristián Romero in the center of the rear. The swerve in the midfield was the inclusion of Guido Rodríguez and Alexis MacAllister. Leandro Paredes and Papu Gómez were left out.

An abrupt facelift that hinted that things are not clear right in a summit duel, a premature final against an adversary who has taken the measure. Especially in the World Cups. On the three occasions that they have coincided in a Championship, the albiazul was successful on all of them. For this reason, the Mexican coach, the Argentine Gerardo daddy Martino, who only made two variations in his eleven, implemented a five-player defense. And with false front. A declaration of intent.

Mexico played for few things to happen on the field. As little as possible. He took one point as a lesser evil. A draw left him alive after avoiding defeat against Poland and with Arabia as the next rival. He assumed his historical inferiority; the records say so. Scoring against Albiceleste would keep them on course to reach the round of 16 for the eighth time in a row. And for a long time what Mexico wanted was played. Nothing happened in the first half. There were no shots on goal. The attempts of Argentina, hasty, drowned in the area or on its border. Leo Messi, too late to be able to participate in the game, hardly had any influence. Meanwhile, Mexico found itself incapable, without resources to put Emiliano Martínez in trouble.

Even so, it was Martino’s team that was the only one that shot on goal before the break in an innocent, colorful free kick, in which the Argentine goalkeeper who had not been heard from throughout the game excelled.

Only a genius, a specific moment, an appearance by Messi could turn the event around. In a flat match that had begun to uneven around the locker room, the captain assumed responsibility. He warned first in a stopped ball, in the crescent, after suffering a foul by Erik Gutiérrez. But the next time he had he didn’t forgive. He saw Ángel Di María from the right. Alone, in the front. Messi he received the ball and with a low shot, with his left foot, close to the post, he beat Guillermo Ochoa.

The second goal in Qatar 2022, which leaves one of the World Cup strikers, the Ecuadorian Enner Valencia and the Frenchman Kylian Mbappé and two by Gabriel Omar Batistutathe top Argentine scorer in the history of the competition, with ten, relieved Argentina, which found itself more comfortable afterwards, with spaces.

Mexico could not avoid the World Cup defeat on this occasion either. And there are four. He looked for the reaction with the entry of Raúl Jiménez and Roberto Alvarado. But the Tri lacks gunpowder and arguments to turn around the game that closed Enzo Fernandez three minutes from time when he received the ball from Messi after a corner, he entered the area and sent a parable from the peak that passed Ochoa. A spectacular goal to put the finishing touch to victory.

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Data sheet

Argentina, 2: E. Martinez; Montiel (Nahuel Molina, m.63), Otamendi, Lisandro, Acuña; De Paul, Guido Rodríguez (Enzo Fernández, m.58), MacAllister (Palacios, m.69); Messi, Di María (Romero, m.69) and Lautaro Martínez (Julián Álvarez, m.63)
Mexico, 0: Ochoa; Kevin Álvarez (Raúl Jiménez, m.66), Araujo, Montes, Héctor Moreno, Gallardo; Héctor Herrera, Guardado (Erick Gutiérrez, m.43), Chávez; Lozano (Alvarado, m.73) and Alexis Vega (Antuña, m.66)

Goals: 1-0, m.64: Messi; 2-0, m.87: Enzo Fernández
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy). He showed a yellow card to Néstor Araújo, Erik Gutiérrez, Héctor Herrera and Roberto Alvarado, from Mexico; and Gustavo Montiel, from Argentina
Incidents: Match of the second day of Group C of the Qatar 2022 World Cup played at the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Losail before 88,966 spectators

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