Argentina faced Mexico in a must win match on Sunday (November 27) wherein a record attendance of more than 88K people was registered at the Lusail Stadium in Doha.

Lionel Messi’s craze was evident in the stadium as it got heated up when Messi displayed his sheer brilliance with a magical goal in 63rd minute. His low strike from outside the box was just phenomenal as it caught everyone’s eyes in the stadium. Later, he also chipped in with an assist to seal the game.

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Earlier in the day, Argentina had kept their nerves tight as they came at the back of a shocking loss to Saudi Arabia in the World Cup opener. With Mexico as opponents, Argentina looked cautious in the first half but the game took a U-turn after 60 minutes when Messi found the space to break the deadlock. The Lusail crowd then screamed out Messi’s name in unison which shook the Mexican spirit.

Apart from scoring a goal, Messi also created the space for 21-year-old Enzo Fernandez, to score a stunning curler to seal the game for Argentina in the 87th minute.

After the win, Messi said, “We knew that if we didn’t win today we would be out and that if we won (our destiny) would depend on us. Luckily we were able to win and that makes us very happy. It’s a weight off our shoulders and we can start over again against Poland.”

“The first half was difficult because of the way they defended,” the Argentina captain said. “We weren’t able to find space and didn’t move the ball the way we wanted to.

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“In the second half we managed to have more possession and found space between the lines. We started to get the ball closer to the (penalty) area and to play our normal game,” he added.

In the book of records, Messi has added an another one to his name as he is now both the youngest and oldest player to have scored and assisted in a single World Cup since 1996. In 2006, he had done the same against Serbia.

Argentina has now bounced back in the tournament, but it’s a long way ahead as they will still have to win against Poland in their final group stage game to secure their chances into the knockout stages of the tournament.

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By Dipak

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