Strikes by Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez earned Argentina a 2-0 win over Mexico in a pulsating atmosphere at Lusail Stadium on Saturday and got the South American team’s World Cup campaign up and running.
Stunned 2-1 by Saudi Arabia in their opening Group C match, Argentina knew defeat would send them out of the tournament, but they started poorly, struggling to cope with Mexico’s high press as Messi was denied time and space to operate.
Argentina’s captain was anonymous in the first half, and his sole contribution of note was a header that ballooned over the bar as his team failed to carve out a good chance.
But picked out by Angel Di Maria just outside the Mexico box in the 64th minute, Messi drove a low shot through a crowd of defenders into the corner. Fernandez followed it up in the 87th minute with a wonderful curling effort to secure the win.
The victory took Argentina up to second place on three points, one point behind leaders Poland, who they will play in their last group match.