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World Cup 2022: Messi brings Argentina back to life against Mexico

And suddenly a roar. Animal and general. I like the relief from the field and the stands. The hour mark passed, and Argentina was still gripped by fear. Mexico held her in check, and a sticky shadow seemed to drag slowly across the sky and the white team.

This sad split, announced after an initial 1-2 loss to Saudi Arabia, was the promise of a choke against Poland next Wednesday. Fear for a teammate in this meeting and the feeling that he is inserting his cats into the void. The Lusail Stadium and its pretty Qatari lantern uniform seemed to have turned off the lights on Argentine football and tarnished the glory of Lionel Messi.

Because the last one was mediocre before. An adjective that sticks so poorly to his number 10. But the ex-Barcelonian wasn’t much use on the pitch. A tired look and a dangling hand. No influence. He pondered the catastrophe of the Albicelesta Formation, blocked by fear and creating tons every time it collided with the enemy. Even he, the big man, flashed in the first period in a complete crude and grotesque simulation. Is this how football giants should leave the stage?

But no. It was just a bad, not funny story. The one we tell kids to scare them, but we stop all the way to replace it with a hugging session. This stadium, where Neymar lost part of his ankle and his morale there with Brazil two days earlier, could not be a star trap.

A goal that revives an entire country

In one second, one but so sublime, Messi changed everything while his people were scared. Found by Ángel Di Maria, a full axis twenty meters away, the Parisian striker hits from the left. Low kick out of Ochoa’s reach (1-0, 64th). His second goal of the tournament after a penalty against the Saudis. But there Messi’s glee is immeasurable. He runs, runs like he’s 18, still doesn’t have the Ballon d’Or in his wardrobe, and the world is about to know about it. This is not a goal, but almost the resuscitation of the whole country. Hitting the ball as if using a defibrillator. At the Lusail Stadium, reminiscent of the famous Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires, everyone wants to kiss each other. And dedicate the “One Love” headband to Messi. Because only he can rekindle that kind of love.

Then Argentina is transformed. She’s not in heaven yet, but just got out of hell. Especially since Messi gets his hands dirty to seal the match. It was he who displaced Fernandez, the author of the second goal from the hook, followed by a magnificent twisting shot (2-0, 87th).

Of course, it’s not over yet, and the Argentines, unlike the Blues, will not be able to rotate their squad in the third match against Poland on Wednesday (20:00). But, having not mastered the bodies, they had just done themselves a lot of good for their fighting spirit and once again became the masters of their own destiny. If they beat teammates Lewandowski, they will qualify. And that might be enough to finish first in Group C and avoid France in the round of 16. Mbappe-Messi one on one, everyone dreams about it, but not immediately like it.

“Leo really wants to succeed in this world championship”

In the World Cup, there are fates that can change in an instant, take the team away from the abyss and return it to the middle of the ball. Messi brought Argentina back to life. Of course, nothing is won for her, but not all is lost. And he’s already huge. But he will have to find a fluidity in his game, become a real team again and have the other strikers free from their game of too provoking and not enough building.

“There was no message consisting of words: we have the best player on the planet. Or this message was sent a long time ago, Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni said with a smile. No, the important thing is that Leo really wants to succeed in this World Cup, just like the rest of us. »

For a long time after the Argentines returned to the dressing room, the fans refused to leave the stadium. Dancing, stomping, screaming. They sang deliverance. They sang about life. They sang Lionel Messi.

Source: Le Parisien

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