Strikes from Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez gave Argentina a 2-0 victory over Mexico on Saturday in a thrilling atmosphere at the Lusail Stadium and launched the South American team’s World Cup campaign.
Beaten 2-1 by Saudi Arabia in their opening Group C match, Argentina knew a defeat would send them out of the tournament, but they started badly and struggled to cope with the high press in Mexico as Messi had no time and room to operate.
The Argentina captain was anonymous in the first half and his only noteworthy contribution was a header that flew over the crossbar when his team failed to create a good chance.
But picked by Angel Di Maria just outside the Mexico box in the 64th minute, Messi hit a low shot through a crowd of defenders into the corner. Fernandez followed it up in the 87th minute with a beautiful curling effort to secure the win.
The win moved Argentina into second place on three points, one point behind leaders Poland, who they will face in their final group game.