Argentina v Mexico as it happened: Lionel Messi inspires team to victory

Enzo Fernandez seals the win as Argentina live to fight another day


FULL-TIME: Argentina 2 Mexico 0

A dour game was brought to life by the great Lionel Messi with a moment of magic. A golazo as they say in Spanish, a powerful low shot in the corner from outside the box. A superb goal by Enzo Fernandez sealed the deal for Argentina. Still work to do to progress in the last game against Poland, but Argentina are safe for now. Relief for Argentina as a large Argentinian crowd celebrates with their players.

Satisfying finish. Join us tomorrow for European heavyweights Spain against Germany. Good night.


95 mins: Mexico push forward for a consolation goal but they’ve lacked quality all game. They now need to beat Saudi Arabia in the final game and hope for the best with other results.

Argentina 2 Mexico 0


90 mins: Brilliant goal by Fernandez and surely he has to force his way into the starting team against Poland. Has been in fine form for Benfica this season and a future star.

Argentina 2 Mexico 0


87 mins: GOAL FOR ARGENTINA! Corner by De Paul is straight to Messi, who passes to Fernandez on the edge of the box and he dribbles and opens his body up and curls beautifully into the top corner. That’s the game, you imagine.

Argentina 2 Mexico 0


83 mins: Free-kick from Chavez is headed away and Martinez collects. Mexico have lacked quality in this game.

Argentina 1 Mexico 0


78 mins: Messi play a one-two in the box and Ochoa has to save but referee says the ball was out of play.

Argentina 1 Mexico 0


74 mins: Lozano off for Alvarado for Mexico. Wolves’s Raul Jimenez also on the pitch, so they have a few more striking options. Game might open up now they’ve been released from their 5-3-2 low block.

Argentina 1 Mexico 0


71 mins: Gomez on for Di Maria among the changes for Argentina. Acuna plays the ball to the other wing and it sits up well for Molina but he slices it miles wide.

Argentina 1 Mexico 0


69 mins: Well that was out of nowhere but another classic Lionel Messi moment. Unstoppable and he only needs a moment to score. Mexico have finally stopped defending and have come out to play. Good atmosphere now.

Argentina 1 Mexico 0


66 mins: GOAL FOR ARGENTINA! Messi does it. From nowhere, magic! Argentina work it well, Di Maria plays it to Messi in the middle of the pitch from 25 yards out and it’s a bullet along the ground into the corner.

Argentina 1 Mexico 0


64 mins: Montiel and Lautaro Martinez off for Molina and Alvarez. Lozano breaks but there’s nobody with him and it goes out of play.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


61 mins: Messi now seems to have taken upon himself to play centre midfield, picking the ball up in his own half. Mexico with 11 men behind the ball. Argentina just can’t break through.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


57 mins: Ball goes across the box as Di Maria gets down the wing and cuts back. A few minutes later, a stale attack ends up with Messi playing the ball to nobody. Guido Rodriguez off for Enzo Fernandez.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


51 mins: 25 yards out and Messi... hits it well over the bar. Disappointing effort.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


50 mins: Second half begins with a number of errors again. Finally Messi gets some space in the middle of the pitch and beats two players and is fouled outside the box. A free-kick in a great position for him.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


HALF-TIME: Argentina 0 Mexico 0

Former Argentinian World Cup winner Jorge Valdano once described a Champions League semi-final between Chelsea and Liverpool as s**t on a stick. What would he make of that? Not good, at all. Can only get better.


45 mins + 4: The ball drops to Vega from 30 yards out but he blasts it over. Argentina break in the final minutes. Messi plays into Acuna, whose low cross is blocked by Mexico. A bit of life finally? Headed away and half-time. Poor.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


44 mins: Off goes Guardado through injury, a shame for the veteran. On comes Gutierréz. He gets fouled instantly after coming on as Montiel gets booked. Decent free-kick by Vega but Martinez saves sharply.

Great summary of the half so far:

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


41 mins: Lautaro Martinez heads wide from a Di Maria cross after a short corner by Messi. A chance? (barely).

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


38 mins: Oof Lisandro Martinez gets a boot to the face. Been some niggly fouls so far. Di Maria finally beats a man but runs into trouble. Chances incredibly scarce on the ground.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


35 mins: Corner by Messi is well headed away but Vega comes flying in with both feet on De Paul and gives away a free-kick near the sideline at the edge of the box. Messi takes a shot (or a cross) that tests Ochoa but he wins a free out.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


31 mins: Mexico boss Gerardo Martino managed Messi in 2013/14 for one season at Barcelona, so will have plenty of plans to frustrate him. Messi has had a few good touches so far but the rest of the team is offering very little in terms of pace or dynamism.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


23 mins: Yellow card for Néstor Araujo after he catches Acuna over the top of the ball. Scaloni sends a message to his midfielders via Montiel to improve Argentina’s shape. Shades of England last night, their midfield has been dysfunctional so far.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


18 mins: Otamendi with a dramatic fall holding his face, some classic Argentinian s**thousery there. Argentina struggling to get a foothold on the game, which has taken on a scrappy, chaotic shape with plenty of bodies flying around.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


15 mins: Positive start by Mexico, not allowing Argentina much space in their build-up. Messi forced to come into his own half to collect the ball. Not the best start by Argentina’s midfield.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


10 mins: Vega wins the ball high up the pitch as him and Lozano run the channels. Corner to Mexico, but it goes nowhere. Montiel is back up and gives Lozano a good kick. Dangerous free kick for Mexico is well delivered but nobody can get a foot on it and it drifts wide.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


6 mins: Argentina full back Montiel is down holding his face and has stayed down after an elbow to the face by Vega while Mexico were on the counter. Looked accidental though, it’s a free-kick but no card.

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


3 mins: Messi gets on the ball in the middle of the pitch and evades a tackle with a nice burst of acceleration. Doesn’t lead to a chance though. Good pace to the game

Argentina 0 Mexico 0


Mexico have a proud record in World Cups of making it out of the group stage. You have to go back to 1978 for them not to make it out of the group and they’ve done it in seven straight tournaments. Argentina met Mexico in the 2006 World Cup last 16, where Argentina won thanks to a stunning Maxi Rodriguez goal in extra time. One of the best World Cup matches I ever saw, that. Let’s hope for something similar today.


The teams today. Five changes to the Argentina team that played Saudi Arabia as Lionel Scaloni rings the changes to inspire his team into life. The most eye-catching are Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez and Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister are in. For Mexico, Ajax’s Edson Alvarez is a surprise exclusion from the starting line-up

Argentina: Emiliano Martinez; Gonzalo Montiel, Nicolas Otamendi, Lisandro Martinez, Marcos Acuna; Angel Di Maria, Rodrigo De Paul, Guido Rodriguez, Alexis Mac Allister; Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez.

Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa; Kevin Alvarez, Néstor Araujo, César Montes, Héctor Moreno, Jesús Gallardo; Héctor Herrera, Luis Chavez, Andrés Guardado; Hirving Lozano, Alexis Vega.


With all eyes on Messi in what is set to be his final World Cup, Jimmy Burns, biographer of both Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, spoke to Gavin Cummiskey about Argentina’s two greatest players.

“Messi is not what he was, so it will depend on the rest of the team, but if he does lift the trophy in Qatar it will probably secure his status as the greatest player of all time. That debate will never end but you cannot keep saying he is missing something if he wins the World Cup. If he doesn’t, he might be seen as mortal, to Argentineans especially.”


“From euphoria to incredulity in a jiffy” is how newspapers in Buenos Aires described the feeling in Argentina after their shock loss to Saudi Arabia. Jonathan Drennan is in Argentina and reported on the feeling there for this World Cup. “In the supermarkets, people carry stacks of pesos, knowing that they will likely need a lot more notes than even a few weeks ago to complete the weekly shop. Argentineans are carrying a heavy load mentally, and as ever, they have looked to their football team to lighten it.”


Earlier today, Robert Lewandowski was gifted his first World Cup goal as Poland brought Saudi Arabia back to earth with a 2-0 win. The hero, however, was as much goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who saved Salem Al-Dawsari’s penalty and then was quickly on his feet to parry the follow up from Mohammed Al-Breik brilliantly over the bar with the score 1-0. The result means that Poland top the group on four points, Saudi Arabia on three, Mexico on one point and Argentina on zero points.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of Argentina against Mexico in the World Cup Group C at Lusail Stadium. After Argentina’s shock defeat to Saudi Arabia in the opening match, a defeat to Mexico would eliminate one of the tournament favourites in the first week of the competition. After Poland’s victory over Saudi Arabia, a draw would not eliminate Argentina, but it would leave them with a lot of work to do to qualify. Kickoff is at 7pm.