‘Today another World Cup starts’ – Lionel Messi backs revamped Argentina side to challenge in Qatar following poor start



Lionel Messi has insisted that “another World Cup starts for Argentina” following their crucial 2-0 victory against Mexico on Sunday night.

Had Argentina lost the crunch match with Mexico, they would have joined hosts Qatar and been eliminated from the competition after two matches following an opening defeat to Saudi Arabia.

Much like they were in their tie against Saudi Arabia, Argentina were lackluster going forward against Mexico and a draw looked the most likely outcome after an hour of action.

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But a moment of magic from Messi and a clinical strike from 21-year-old substitute Enzo Fernandez in the latter stages helped Argentina claim a decisive three points and put themselves into a healthy position after a nightmare start.

“Today another World Cup starts for Argentina,” Messi told Sky Sports after the game. “I tell people the same thing, that they continue to believe. Today we did what we had to do.

“We had no other choice. We had to win so that we depended only on ourselves.

“The first half we didn’t play as we should and in the second, when we calmed down, we started to play the ball better and after the goal we went back to being what we are.”

The 35-year-old has now scored in Argentina’s last six games scoring 12 goals, including a five-goal haul against Estonia in June.

He has equalled the number of World Cup goals scored by the late Diego Maradona, who also scored eight goals for Argentina in the same number of games.

The win keeps Argentina’s hopes of escaping group C alive and they will top the group if they manage to beat Poland on Wednesday.

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The winners of Argentina’s group will play the runner-up in Group D in the last 16 which is likely to be Denmark or Australia, but finish second and there’s a strong chance of bumping into leaders – and reigning World Champions – France.

Poland currently lead Group C by a point after they romped home to their first win against Saudi Arabia on Sunday, helped by a first World Cup goal from Robert Lewandowski.

The victory followed a frustrating goalless draw with Mexico in the opening round of fixtures.

Argentina and Saudi Arabia, which each share a win and a loss, sit second and third respectively on three points.

Saudi Arabia face a winless Mexico next, as they look to upset the odds and clinch what would be a great escape.

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