Lionel Messi breaks silence after vital Argentina win over Mexico

Argentina fans celebrate victory over Mexico at World Cup

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Lionel Messi has declared Argentina’s World Cup campaign has begun following their vital win over Mexico on Saturday. The superstar forward opened the scoring with a sublime long-range strike before Enzo Fernandez sealed the victory in the closing stages.

After the shock defeat to Saudi Arabia in their opener, Argentina knew defeat at Lusail Stadium would see them crash out of the World Cup at the earliest opportunity. But one of the pre-tournament favourites turned it on in the second half to ensure their fate stayed in their hands.

It was a tight first half as both sides equalled each other out. But a moment of inspiration from Messi just after the hour mark sent the Argentina fans into raptures.

The 35-year-old took a sublime first touch having found space fully 25 yards out from goal. He then let fly with a powerful low effort that kept going away from Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and into the bottom right corner.

Fernandez’s fine curling strike late on sealed the win. And Messi admits a weight has been lifted off his team’s shoulders.

“Today, Argentina’s World Cup begins,” he said. “We lived with discomfort given the defeat in the opening match was something we didn’t expect.

“The days felt very long and we were eager to have the chance to turn it around. We knew it was a critical game. Luckily, we had the option to win and it was a weight off our shoulders, a reason for joy and peace of mind because it is all down to us again.

“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.

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“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 until the goal we went back to being what we are.”

Argentina now sit second in Group C, a point behind leaders Poland who beat Saudi Arabia earlier in the day on Saturday. Messi’s side take on Poland in the final game of the group on Wednesday.

A point will not be enough for Argentina to qualify for the knockout stage if Saudi Arabia beat Mexico in their final match. However, the Mexicans are also not out of the competition and victory will give them a fighting chance of making it through to the round of 16.

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