Messi leads Argentina to 2-0 victory over Mexico in World Cup

Lionel Messi scored another crucial goal for Argentina in a 2-0 win over Mexico on Saturday that ignited the team’s World Cup chances.

Messi took a touch from Angel Di Maria’s pass across the area and drove a low shot from 25 meters (yards) into the bottom corner in the 64th minute.

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He ran towards the Argentina fans with his arms outstretched before being mobbed by his cheering teammates. He looked emotional as he grabbed and shook his shirt, then blew a kiss to the crowd before twirling his arms.

Substitute Enzo Fernandez added a second goal in the 87th minute.

Argentina bounced back from a shock 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in their opening game. The team are second in Group C ahead of their final game against Poland on Wednesday and may need to win it to advance.

The 35-year-old Messi is likely to play in his latest World Cup, which is the only major title missing from his collection.

It was an eighth World Cup goal for Messi — the same number scored in the tournament by rival Cristiano Ronaldo and also Diego Maradona, the Argentina great with whom he is so often compared.

For some, Messi needs to win the World Cup to join Pele and Maradona as football’s greatest ever players. Thanks to this win, it could still happen.

Until his goal, Messi endured a frustrating game, finding himself with two defenders on him every time he received the ball.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni made five changes from the Saudi Arabia game in an attempt to inject some more energy into the team, but they initially made little difference.

The momentum of the game changed completely after Messi’s goal, his 93rd cap and his second of the tournament after a penalty against Saudi Arabia.

(AP)

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