DOHA – Lionel Messi scored a superb as Argentina beat Mexico 2-0 to restore their hopes of qualifying for the next round in the ongoing World Cup tournament.
Messi rifled home a low shot on the 64th minute mark before rising star Enzo Fernandez curled home an 87th-minute strike to seal three points at Doha’s Lusail Stadium on Saturday.
The Group C win puts Argentina firmly back on track for a place in the last 16 following their shock opening loss to Saudi Arabia.
The Saturday group C second game encounter of the Qatar 2022 World Cup attracted a record attendance of 88,966 spectators at the Lusail Stadium – the largest audience at a World Cup match in 28 years.
The Lusail facility -north of Doha, which will host the final on December 18, had the largest World Cup crowd since the famous 1994 final in the United States, according to Fifa. There were 91,194 spectators at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, who watched as Brazil beat Italy in that penalty shootout following a barren draw.
The Saturday attendance were not among the top 30 for all World Cup matches. The largest crowd was 173,850 at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro in 1950 as Uruguay won 2-1 over hosts Brazil in the final match of that tournament.
Other stadiums on the top 30 list include Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, London’s Wembley Stadium, and Barcelona’s Camp Nou.
Saudi Arabia shocked Argentina 2-1 in their opening Group C match – and the former World Champions knew that a defeat would send them out of the tournament – and as such measured up to Mexico’s pressure netting through Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez.
Poland top group
Argentina’s captain was anonymous in the first half, his sole contribution of note a header that ballooned over the bar, as his team failed to carve out a single decent chance.
But picked out by Angel Di Maria just outside the Mexico box in the 64th minute, Messi made no mistake, arrowing a low shot through a crowd of defenders into the corner.
Fernandez doubled the lead in the 87th with a wonderful curling effort.
The win took Argentina up to second place on three points, one behind leaders Poland, who they play in their last group match.
Saudi Arabia are third, level on points with Argentina but with an inferior goal difference.