Argentina keep their round of 16 hopes alive and will depend on themselves alone thanks to a 2-0 win against Mexico. The group C is still open for all the 4 teams and the final group stage fixture will decide who will finish top 2.
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Click here to watch the highlights of Argentina v Mexico.
Starting line-up of Argentina and Mexico
Lionel Scaloni opted for a 4-4-2 formation with skipper Messi and Lautaro Martinez leading the charge. De Paul and Rodriguez played as midfielders supported at wide areas by Di Maria and Mac Allister. Montiel, Otamendi, Lisandro Martinez and Acuna formed the back 4. Emi Martinez was guarding the Argentine goal post.
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Former Argentina coach and current Mexico manager Tata Martino fielded a team with 5-3-2 formation. Vega and Lozano played up front, supported by the midfield trio of Guardado, Herrera and Chavez. The 5 man defence consisted of Gallardo, Moreno, Montes, Araujo, Alvarez. Ochoa started between the posts.
First half : Stalemate with 0 shots on target by Albiceleste
The first half saw Argentina dominate the possession with 67%. Even with so much control over the ball, Scaloneta couldn’t generate a goal scoring opportunity as there were 0 shots on target and in total only one shot was taken. On the other hand, Mexico had 3 shots with 1 on target from set piece in a dangerous position. Emi Martinez made a fine save to deny Mexico a lead heading into half time. The match was intensely fought and recorded 15 fouls in the first half.
Second half : Messi and Enzo Fernandez strike for Argentina
Enzo Fernandez replaced Guido Rodriguez at the 57th minute. The game started to swing towards Argentina after this substitution. Both the teams were having control over the ball. Argentina marginally had it for a bit longer with 51% possession in the second half. At 64th minute, Di Maria charged wide attracting players and passed it into the middle, Messi was ready there to put the ball at the bottom right corner from 25 yards. The breakthrough goal saw Argentina gain momentum and started playing better compared to a dismal first half. Enzo Fernandez scored a sublime goal from a ridiculous angle crashing into top right corner. Messi assisted the goal and became the first men’s player to assist in 5 different world cup. Messi became the youngest and oldest player to score and assist in the same game in a world cup.
Argentina won the game 2-0 and Lionel Messi was adjudged as man of the match. Argentina are 2nd in group C with 3 points and will face Poland in their final group fixture.