Lionel Messi puts Mexico group-stage clash above France final as Argentina's toughest 2022 World Cup game

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  • Argentina were struggling against Mexico
  • Messi lifted his team by scoring the opener
  • The win was crucial after defeat to Saudi

WHAT HAPPENED? After Argentina fell to shock loss against Saudi Arabia in their 2022 World Cup opener it was crucial for them to win the following group stage match against Mexico to keep their hopes of glory alive. The Albiceleste were struggling to get a foothold in the match until Messi drilled a perfect shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards to break the deadlock in the 65th minute. The skipper then went on to set up Enzo Fernandez for the second which sealed the three points for Lionel Scaloni's side.

WHAT THEY SAID: Messi says that the matchup was the biggest test for Argentina because of the pressure involved, with every member of the squad well aware of how much was at stake. “The match with Mexico was the most difficult because of everything that was at stake and it was the one we played the worst, because we had to win no matter what and that makes you play differently,” the 35-year-old said to Urbanaplayfm.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi scored seven goals in total at the tournament, including a brace in the final against France, and picked up the Golden Ball award for the second time in his career. Kylian Mbappe also hit a hat-trick in a thrilling 3-3 draw which had to be decided on penalties. Messi stepped up to score Argentina's first spot-kick in the shootout and they went on to win 4-2 to lift the trophy.


Messi MexicoGettyMessi World Cup ArgentinaGetty

WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? The Paris Saint-Germain forward is now back with his club after wild celebrations in Buenos Aires, and will be in action against Montpellier in Ligue 1 on Wednesday.

Where should Lionel Messi play next season?

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Where should Lionel Messi play next season?

  • 11%PSG
  • 53%Barcelona
  • 11%Inter Miami
  • 14%Saudi Arabia
  • 11%Other
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