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Homechevron_rightSportschevron_rightFootballchevron_rightFIFA 2022: Argentina's...

FIFA 2022: Argentina's World Cup hopes still alive after defeating Mexico 2-0

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FIFA 2022: Argentinas World Cup hopes still alive after defeating Mexico 2-0
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Doha: Argentina defeated struggling Mexico 2-0 in their World Cup Group C match on Saturday, with goals from Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez late in the game to revive their tournament chances.

Messi was absent for more than an hour until picking up an Angel Di Maria ball, finding just enough room, and blasting in from 20 metres to tie Diego Maradona's Argentina record of 21 games and eight goals at the World Cup.

In the 87th minute, substitute Fernandez curled a beautiful shot into the top corner to secure all three points.

After their shocking opening 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia, the result gave the Argentines in Group C some order.

In their final match on Wednesday, Argentina, which has three points, may advance if they defeat Poland, which is in first place with four.

"Today starts another World Cup for Argentina," Messi said. "I tell people the same thing, that they continue to believe.

"The first half we didn't play as we should and in the second when we calmed down, we started to play the ball better and until the goal, we went back to being what we are."

Mexico, which has now lost all four of its World Cup matches against Argentina, needs to defeat Saudi Arabia, who has three points, in order to continue their streak of qualifying for the round of 16 in the last seven tournaments, but even that may not be enough, AFP reported.

An electrifying atmosphere was created in the stadium by the two sets of fans as tensions were high on and off the ball in a scrappy first half due to the possibility of an Argentina elimination.

The first half of the game did not live up to expectations since neither team wanted to commit too many players forward, and there were few opportunities aside from a free kick by Mexico's Luis Chavez in the ninth minute that flew over the goalmouth.

The majority of Mexico's opponents' offence was smothered by their aggressive pressing style, and Argentina's star Messi found it difficult to find any room to move in the crowded midfield.

Argentina lacked offensive bite up front aside from a Messi effort and a miss by Lautaro Martinez.

But in a significant setback for Mexico, captain Andres Guardado, a veteran of five World Cups who had been a controlling presence in midfield up until that point, had to be substituted out due to injury in the 42nd minute.

However, the Mexicans still managed to create two more opportunities before halftime. Alexis Vega first curled a free kick over the wall for goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to save, and then he fired a shot over the crossbar minutes later.

However, the Mexicans still managed to create two more opportunities before halftime. Alexis Vega first curled a free kick over the wall for goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to save, and then he fired a shot over the crossbar minutes later.

After the half, the South Americans were more resolute, but they had little hope of winning until their 35-year-old skipper scored his second goal of the competition to rescue them.

Fernandez's late goal sealed Argentina's first victory in the competition and revived Messi's dreams of winning his first World Cup. The stadium erupted in cheers once more.



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TAGS:mexicoArgentinaFIFA 2022
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