A ponderous first half against Mexico at the Lusail Stadium had raised further doubts about Argentina’s title credentials and its ability to fight back. But an elegant second half goal from Lionel Messi and another equally brilliant strike by Enzo Fernandez brought back smiles in the face of the tensed players, keeping Messi and their World Cup dreams alive.
“It was a difficult match to lift us up because Mexico played well. We played the first half with a lot of intensity but in the second half we were calmer and went back to being ourselves. The win was a relief for the entire dressing room and brought us great joy,” Messi said after the game.
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“The first game cost us, and there were a lot of factors behind that defeat. We knew that today we had to win, that another World Cup was starting for us, and as a team we knew how we could do it.”
Looking ahead to its last group game against Poland, which defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0 to move to the top, Messi said, “We can’t give up now. We have all the finals to play, we can’t make mistakes.”
If Messi’s strike brought relief to the edgy Argentine fanbase, Enzo’s goal in the 87th minute got the party started. “I’m not surprised by Enzo. I know him and I see him train every day. He deserves the goal because he’s a spectacular player and an important player for us. I am happy for him,” the Argentine captain said.
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