During the first 63 minutes of Argentina’s surprisingly crucial second match at the World Cup 2022Lionel Messi was the spitting image of frustration.
Alternating between the right wing and midfield, he barely touched the ball against a mexico team determined to contain it.
On the rare occasions that he did, he tried to do too much. With a pack of El Tri defenders following his every move, there was always a sea of green jerseys around him. He’d beat one or two, only to be dispossessed before he could break into open space or play a quick one-two with a teammate.
With nearly 90,000 waiting fans inside the Lusail Iconic Stadium watching their every move, the tension rose to an almost unbearable level as the seconds ticked by. Could he really end up the way he has so many times before in his national team jersey for the greatest player who ever lived: penniless?
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The difference this time was that there would be no chance of redemption. Messi, 35, announced before the tournament that this World Cup, the fifth, would be the last. That beautiful golden trophy is the only one he has ever won, the only blemish on an incomparable career.
This year was supposed to be different. This is the best albiceleste team that Messi has had around him. This supporting cast helped him win the Copa América last summer, his first title for his country. The end of the storybook was supposed to come with the final whistle of the World Cup final at this very stadium next month.
but a Shocking loss to Saudi Arabia in Argentina’s opening match in Qatar he allowed the pressure and doubt to creep back in. Argentina needed to beat Mexico, or at least not lose, on Saturday to restore their championship dreams and the hopes of soccer fans around the world that Messi would get the shipment. -off that so much deserves.
Let the little wizard do it all by himself.
Just past the hour mark, Messi showed exactly why he’s the GOAT, and why he’s still far from over. Bursting into a gap in front of El Tri’s back line, he found the ball in his famous left foot.
Time stopped. Messi drew his leg back and flicked the ball across the grass just out of reach of the Mexico goalkeeper. memo ochoajust inside the far post.
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The goal sent tens of thousands of Argentine fans traveling behind the goal into ecstasy. It was a perfect shot from a perfect player, and it came when they and he needed it most.
Surely not even the Mexican fans in attendance (the raucous and deafening crowd was split evenly between green and baby blue) couldn’t envy him.
This is how revered Messi has become throughout the football planet. He has brought so much joy to soccer lovers, for so long, that it’s almost impossible to criticize him. It doesn’t matter if you are a Brazilian or a Madridista, everyone understands and can appreciate how special Messi is.
With all the tension released into the ether, after Messi’s moment of brilliance, Argentina took over. Enzo Fernandez He left the game with an assist from Messi with three minutes remaining in regulation time.
The work is not complete, of course. It’s just beginning. Argentina have just three points from their first two games and have yet to face by Robert Lewandowski Poland , who beat the Saudis 2-0 a few hours earlier in the Group C final on Wednesday. But La Albiceleste They did what they needed for Saturday. Rather than crumble under the weight of enormous anticipation, they responded and reclaimed their status as one of the title favorites.
Now, they have momentum, as well as all the neutrals behind them.
After staring the unthinkable in the face—elimination from World Cup contention before even playing their third first-round match—for over an hour, the dream lives on.
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Messi has a mission. He’s not finished, not even close.
His heroism on Saturday proved that Argentina and the GOAT can still win this World Cup, even if he has to drag his team to the podium alone.