World Cup player ratings: Lionel Messi creates another moment of magic

Lionel Messi led Argentina to their first World Cup victory, as Lionel Scaloni’s team bounced back from a shock wave against Saudi Arabia to beat Mexico 2-0.

Messi was close to tears as he grabbed and shook his jersey in front of Argentina’s celebrating fans, then blew a kiss and looked to the sky after one of the most important goals of his career ignited his team’s World Cup chances .

His teammate and substitute Enzo Fernandez also impressed when he scored his first international goal to double Argentina’s lead and clinch victory.

But other members of the Argentina side failed to dazzle as Lautaro Martinez and Rodrigo de Paul didn’t have much influence on the game.

Here, Sports mail‘s Isabel Baldwin rates and places players from both teams after the meeting at Lusail Stadium.

Lionel Messi led Argentina to their first World Cup victory by beating Mexico 2-0

He Had One Of The Main Goals Of His Career To Increase His Team'S World Cup Chances

He had one of the main goals of his career to increase his team’s World Cup chances


Emiliano Martinez – 6.5

The Aston Villa goalkeeper had a relatively quiet evening behind the Argentine defense. Mexico showed great desire and ambition to find the back of the net, but lacked the quality in the last third to really challenge him. However, he made an impressive save and caught Alexis Vega’s free kick at the end of the first half.

Gonazlo Montiel – 6

He was offside in Argentina’s first dangerous attack and was booked for taking down Luis Chavez before the break.

Nicholas Otamendi – 7

The trusted and experienced Otamendi used the ball to dominate the game in the air. He also successfully repelled all attacks in Mexico.

Lisandro Martinez – 7

The Manchester United man, who was called up for a dropped Cristian Romero, looked nervous at times but still fended off the occasional challenge from Mexico.

Marcos Acuna – 6

The Sevilla left-back produced a good cross for Messi to score his side’s first shot, but struggled to make much of an impact on the game.

Nicolas Otamendi Fended Off Mexico'S Attacks And Used The Ball To Dominate The Game In The Air

Nicolas Otamendi fended off Mexico’s attacks and used the ball to dominate the game in the air

Angel Di Maria – 7

Di Maria created a handful of chances for the Argentines. First, he set up a good chance for Lautaro, which was wasted before later causing chaos in El Tri’s penalty area with a cross in the second half, but no one could get to the end of it. Finally he had a breakthrough, choosing Messi to do the rest.

Rodrigo De Paul-4

It was a hugely disappointing game for De Paul, who lost the ball to Vega early on, misplaced several passes and was a main culprit for Argentina’s lack of control in the first 60 minutes.

Guido Rodriguez – 5

Rodriguez had to sink deeper and deeper to collect the ball and dictate the game. In the end, he was unable to initiate many attacks for the Argentines and was sent off in the 57th minute.

Rodrigo De Paul Lost The Ball, Misplaced Several Passes And Contributed To The Lack Of Control

Rodrigo De Paul lost the ball, misplaced several passes and contributed to the lack of control

Alexis MacAllister – 5.5

A quiet and unobtrusive performance from the Brighton man who didn’t make much of an impact on the pitch. He was taken off with just over 20 minutes left – not that you would have noticed as it could easily have been forgotten that he was playing.

Lionel Messi – 8

The legend kept relatively quiet in the first half and began to appear increasingly lonely and frustrated, culminating in a free-kick flying over the crossbar early in the second half. But in typical fashion, he sparked a spark out of nowhere to put Argentina in charge. He also contributed to his team’s second-place finish by sliding the ball to Fernandez.

Lautaro Martinez – 5

The Inter Milan striker had little influence in attack and miserably lost a chance in the first half after a good short corner kick routine.

In Typical Fashion, Messi Sparked A Spark From Nowhere To Put Argentina In Charge

In typical fashion, Messi sparked a spark from nowhere to put Argentina in charge


Nahuel Molina – 6 (for Montiel, 63)

He shot over the crossbar with a lack of composure, but the ball seemed to be bubbling fair.

Cristian Romero – 6 (for Di Maria, 67)

Romero was brought in to prop things up after Argentina took the lead. Mexico barely challenged once he came on and the Albiceleste took a second to see victory.

Enzo Fernandez – 8 (for Rodriguez, 57)

His excellent goal completed the victory for Lionel Scaloni’s team. He raced to defense before curling his shot past Ochoa to score a superb goal for his first international match.

Enzo Fernandez Closed The Game With His First Ever International Goal

Enzo Fernandez closed the game with his first ever international goal

Exequiel Palacios – 6 (for Mac Allister, 69)

The Bayern Leverkusen man pressed well and helped his team to see the result.

Julian Alvarez – 6.5 (for Lau. Martinez, 63)

The Manchester City striker was quiet after his introduction, but was still livelier than Lautaro and showed some nice attacks by combining with Messi.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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