News, Culture & Society

World Cup player ratings: Lionel Messi produces yet another moment of magic

Lionel Messi led Argentina to their first victory at the World Cup as Lionel Scaloni’s side bounced back from a shock upset to Saudi Arabia to beat Mexico 2-0.

Messi was almost in tears as he grabbed and shook his jersey in front of Argentina´s celebrating fans, then blew a kiss and looked to the sky after one of the most important goals of his career ignited his team’s World Cup chances.

His teammate and substitute Enzo Fernandez also impressed as his clinched his first international goal to double Argentina’s lead and wrap up the victory. 

But other members of the Argentina side failed to dazzle as Lautaro Martinez and Rodrigo de Paul did not have much impact on the game. 

Here, Sportsmail‘s Isabel Baldwin rates and slates players from both teams after the encounter at the Lusail Stadium. 

Lionel Messi led Argentina to their first victory at the World Cup as they beat Mexico 2-0

He had one of the most important goals of his career to ignite his team's World Cup chances

He had one of the most important goals of his career to ignite his team’s World Cup chances 

ARGENTINA 

Emiliano Martinez – 6.5

The Aston Villa goalkeeper had a relatively quiet evening behind the Argentina defence. Mexico showed great desire and ambition to find the back of the net but lacked the quality in the final third to really challenge him. However, he did impressively save and catch Alexis Vega’s free kick at the end of the first half.

Gonazlo Montiel – 6 

He was caught offside in Argentina’s first dangerous attack and was booked for taking down Luis Chavez before the break.

Nicolas Otamendi – 7

Trusted and experienced Otamendi used the ball to dominate the game in the air. He also successfully blunted any Mexico attacks.

Lisandro Martinez – 7

Called up ahead of a dropped Cristian Romero, the Manchester United man looked nervous at times but still fended off the occasional challenges from Mexico.  

Marcos Acuna – 6

The Sevilla left-back produced a good cross for Messi to have his side’s first shot but he struggled to have much impact on the game.

Nicolas Otamendi blunted Mexico's attacks and used the ball to dominate the game in the air

Nicolas Otamendi blunted Mexico’s attacks and used the ball to dominate the game in the air

Angel Di Maria – 7 

Di Maria created a handful of chances for the Argentines. First he provided a good chance for Lautaro, which was squandered before later creating havoc in El Tri’s box with a second-half cross but no one could get on the end of it. Finally he had a breakthrough, by picking out Messi who did the rest. 

Rodrigo De Paul – 4

It was a hugely disappointing game for De Paul, who lost the ball to Vega early on, misplaced multiple passes and was a main culprit of Argentina’s lack of control in the opening 60 minutes. 

Guido Rodriguez – 5

Rodriguez was forced to drop deeper and deeper in order to collect the ball and try to dictate play. Ultimately, he was unbale to kick start many attacks for the Argentine’s and was subbed off in the 57th minute. 

Rodrigo De Paul lost the ball, misplaced multiple passes and contributed to the lack of control

Rodrigo De Paul lost the ball, misplaced multiple passes and contributed to the lack of control

Alexis Mac Allister – 5.5

A quiet and non-descript performance from the Brighton man who failed to have much impact on the pitch. He was taken off with just over 20 minutes left – not that you would have noticed as it could have been easily forgettable that he was playing. 

Lionel Messi – 8

The legend was kept relatively quiet in the first half and began to look increasingly forlorn and frustrated, which peaked when he sent a free kick flying over the bar early in the second half. But in typical fashion, he produced a spark out of nowhere to hand Argentina the lead. He also contributed to his team’s second by slipping the ball to Fernandez. 

Lautaro Martinez – 5

The Inter Milan forward had very little impact in attack, woefully squandering a first-half chance following a good short corner routine. 

In typical fashion, Messi produced a spark out of nowhere to hand Argentina the lead

In typical fashion, Messi produced a spark out of nowhere to hand Argentina the lead

SUBS

Nahuel Molina – 6 (for Montiel, 63) 

He blazed over the bar with a lack of composure but the ball did appear to bobble in fairness.  

Cristian Romero – 6 (for Di Maria, 67)

Romero was brought on to shore things up after Argentina took the lead. Mexico barely challenged once he came on and the Albiceleste grabbed a second to see out the victory. 

Enzo Fernandez – 8 (for Rodriguez, 57)

His outstanding goal wrapped up the win for Lionel Scaloni’s team. He ran at the defence before curling his shot past Ochoa, clinching a beautiful goal for his first international one. 

Enzo Fernandez wrapped up the game by clinching his first ever international goal

Enzo Fernandez wrapped up the game by clinching his first ever international goal  

Exequiel Palacios – 6 (For Mac Allister, 69) 

The Bayern Leverkusen man pressed well and helped his team hang in to see out the result.

Julian Alvarez – 6.5 (for Lau. Martinez, 63)

The Manchester City striker was quiet after being introduced but was still livelier than Lautaro and showed some decent touches by combining with Messi. 

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



Find local lawyers and law firms at USAttorneys.com