Argentina beats México 2 – 0 as Lionel Messi scores in the second half

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Argentina looking to rebound from a shocking loss to Saudi Arabia.

The 2-1 defeat ended Argentina’s 36-game unbeaten run.

Mexico playing in their eighth consecutive World Cup.

Mexico drew 0-0 with Poland in their World Cup opener.

Table of Contents

Full-time: Argentina 2-0 Mexico

Mission accomplished for Argentina as the referee blows the whistle.
After enduring a tough opening loss against Saudi Arabia, Argentina has come back admirably to beat Mexico 2-0.
Upon reflection, it seems like the Argentinians timed their offensive just right as they made the necessary inroads to once and for all put-away El Tri.
Mexico will feel hard done somewhat after putting in some solid defensive work in the first three quarters of the match, however, the gulf in class between both sides was always going to play a role in the final outcome.
In the end, fans at Lusail Stadium got what they wanted in witnessing a Messi goal, and we all may have just witnessed the birthing of a future star after Enzo Fernandez’s lovely strike to seal the deal.
Mexico hunt for a goal
With the goal difference calculations coming to the fore, the Mexican players are looking to get a quick goal here to help their chances of possible progression.

90+4 mins: Argentina 2-0 Mexico

Six minutes of added time
On the stroke of the 90th minute, the fourth official signaled for six additional minutes.

90+1 mins: Argentina 2-0 Mexico

Enzo Fernandez with a beauty!
From an Argentinian corner won on the left side, Messi passes it off to the nearby player who then finds Fernandez.
Fernandez is able to slalom himself towards the top left of the box before unleashing a strike of some quality which curls into the top right of the goal.
Sensational stuff from the youngster as Argentina by all accounts has ended Mexico’s chance at a comeback.

87 mins: Argentina 2-0 Mexico

Messi and Maradona
The two Argentinian greats are always bound to draw a comparison – and a contrast between Messi’s famed humility and Maradona’s supreme arrogance.
Messi has now scored as many World Cup goals as Maradona – eight – and if the score stays like this, Argentina still has a few more matches to play before Messi’s international retirement.
Argentina relenting somewhat
With a possible 10 more minutes of action, including stoppage time, Argentina has noticeably stepped off the accelerator pedal.
They are looking to manage the remaining time effectively and preserve the clean sheet.

85 mins: Argentina 1-0 Mexico

Mexico win free-kick
Chavez lofts one in from about 30 meters (33 yards) out on the right side but fails to get a Mexican head on it.

82 mins: Argentina 1-0 Mexico

43m ago (20:39 GMT)
Argentina pushing for a second goal
A couple of attacks from Argentina have failed to produce much but it is clear that the boys in blue and white really want that second goal.
They must be aware of the group permutations for the final round of matches if the result stays as is.

78 mins: Argentina 1-0 Mexico

Game has burst into life once more!
After a rather subdued opening to the half, we officially have a game again on our hands!
La Albiceleste is being more positive on the ball as they look to put away Mexico here with another goal.
Mexico makes a change in response as Lozano comes off for Roberto Alvarado.

72 mins: Argentina 1-0 Mexico

Lusail stadium erupts
The thousands of Argentina fans in Lusail Stadium are creating quite an atmosphere.
The noise level in the ground went up several notches with that Argentina goal from Messi.
The Argentinian fans are waving their flags and scarves in the air. Meanwhile, the Mexican fans look on in disbelief.

Now a pair of changes from Argentina
Scaloni responds in kind as Christian Romero and Exequiel Palacios come on in place of Di Maria and McAllister.

Surprising that Di Maria was taken off so soon as I really do believe he was one of the more influential players out there for Argentina.

69 mins: Argentina 1-0 Mexico

Mexico substitutions
In response to that stunning goal, Martino has made a couple of changes as Lozano comes off for Raul Jimenez, while Vega comes off for Uriel Antuna.

67 mins: Argentina 1-0 Mexico

That’s what the crowd came to see


Messi scores!

The Argentinian talisman has made his mark on this game, breaking the deadlock in style.

He receives the ball outside of the box and fires off a shot that beats Ochoa’s dive and nestles into the bottom right corner.

Lusail Stadium erupts.

64 mins: Argentina 1-0 Mexico

Montiel, Martinez come off
And is Nahuel Molina and Julian Alvarez who come on in their place.

63 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Back in LA…
In Boyle Heights, Miguel Martinez Jr is watching the game with friends and family in the Distrito Catorce bar in Los Angeles, where the atmosphere is electric, as fans, undeterred by the stature of Argentina, urge Mexico forward.
“I was born in the US, but my parents are from Mexico, so I’m here to show up for my team and my country,” he said.
They’re from south central, a different area of Los Angeles, but he chose to watch in Boyle Heights because the crowd would be strong.
While acknowledging that Argentina is an excellent team, Martinez is all in for Mexico, and a prayer candle is burning on their table to bring their team good luck.
“You can see the crowd here is full of energy,” he said. “It could be a tie, but we’re hoping for a win.”

Brian Osgood

Mexico won the free-kick on the right side
Vega fires the ball into the box from about 35 meters out (38 yards), but it is dealt with quite easily by the Argentinian defense.

60 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

1h ago (20:19 GMT)
Rodriguez’s night comes to a close
At the approach of the hour, Argentina decides it is time for a change as Rodriguez is brought off for Enzo Fernandez.

58 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Chance snuffed out by the Mexican defense
Di Maria, who has arguably looked to be the best player for La Albiceleste, makes a searching run on the right side as he sends in a ground pass into the box.
However, the ball is quickly sent downfield by the back line.

56 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Fans feeling the tension
Argentina fan Jade Escalante, 28, says she was “nervous” throughout the game.
“Not much happened [in the first half]. The Mexico team was not very threatening, but I could not stop worrying, being nervous,” she told Al Jazeera inside the Lusail Stadium.
“We have to win. And I feel Messi is not playing as well as he should.”

Argentina’s Lionel Messi, one of the greatest players the world has ever seen, will bask in the glory of victory, or shoulder the blame for defeat – despite there being several other Argentinian players on the pitch [Matthew Childs/Reuters]
Mexico fan Julia Jimenez said El Tri needs to create more chances in attack and to get into more “attacking positions”.
“They need to play as a team. I know they can do better,” the 23-year-old told Al Jazeera. “Also they need to control the ball more. It feels like Argentina is controlling the match. Maybe prayer will help.”

Usaid Siddiqui

Messi wins a free-kick from just outside the box
Gutierrez unceremoniously brings down the Argentinian, who does well to shield the ball till the very end.
The Mexican receives a subsequent yellow from the referee.
Messi readies himself to take the attempt. He sends in a curler that has a tough too much height on it and Ochoa is not required for action.

51 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Argentina continues to hold onto possession
Argentina seems content to hold onto the ball as much as possible.
Despite a scare when Vega picked up the ball before Lozano lost it trying to receive the pass, they have been able to control the narrative.

50 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Back in LA
When Mexico was awarded that free-kick in the first half, here’s what happened in our friendly neighborhood Mexican bar in Los Angeles, 8,227 miles (13,240km) away.

The second half begins!

Both sides are out on the pitch and ready to do battle once more.
Argentina dominated the stats in the first half. They had 68 percent possession and completed 285 passes, more than double the number completed by Mexico.
Goes to show you it’s not about keeping the ball that counts, it is what you do with it.

46 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

The first half in numbers

Palestine flag on display

Palestinians living in Qatar, as well as those visiting, are taking advantage of the world’s attention on the World Cup to make their flag prominent and remind the world of the atrocities being carried out by Israel.

“With 80,000-plus inside Lusail Stadium right now and millions tuned in to watch a certain Messi take the field, it’s as good a time as any to send out a reminder,” one group of Palestinian football fans told talkupditingsdem.

Want to know more? Check out this excellent story by our colleague Hafsa Adil during your half-time break.

Half-time: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

After a quick corner from the left side fails to yield anything for Argentina, the referee blows the whistle to end the first half.

Argentina doesn’t seem to be going at full tilt quite yet but has shown glimpses of it as they encroach into Mexican territory.

Mexico should be pleased with how they have fared so far and will hope they can keep Argentina’s attacker at bay once play resumes.

Argentina really does need to win this one though if they are to decide their own destiny in this tournament. They would ideally prefer not to leave it to the fortunes of their group mates.

Five minutes of stoppage time

The fourth official, unsurprisingly, has allotted a further five minutes of stoppage time.

That sums up the kind of match we are having here at Lusail.

45+1 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Vega’s free-kick attempt on net
Gutierrez has barely been on the field before he is taken down with an ill-timed tackle by Montiel, who straight away receives a caution from the referee.

The challenge wins a free-kick from about 25 meters outside the box.

Vega takes it and tests Martinez, who has to dive to his top right to pluck the chance.

45 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Halftime looms

As the first half draws towards its conclusion, neither set of fans is letting their guard down. Every touch of the ball and every successful tackle is cheered by supporters on either side, while huge groans are heard when an opportunity goes begging.

Usaid Siddiqui

Change made by Mexico
We have a rather premature substitution here at Lusail Stadium as Guardado is signaled to come off for Erick Gutierrez.

43 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Martinez’s chance goes begging
Messi receives the ball after a right-side corner is quickly taken, and attempts to loop in a ball to Lautaro Martinez in the middle.
The striker is covered well by Montes, however, as he ends up heading the effort well over the bar.

42 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Martinez in the air

Mexico struggling to get out of their half
Argentina continues to send waves upon waves of attack, but Mexico has been resolute in its defense.
They will hope they can hold out as we wind down this first half.

40 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

What our fans think:
We’re still nil-nil with 38 minutes on the clock, but who did our Twitter followers think would win this match?
Martinez gets hit in the face
Some of the challenges so far have been, shall we say, not very subtle.
Argentinian defender Martinez catches the boot of a Mexican player as they jostle for an aerial ball.
Can’t say I didn’t expect a feisty tussle between these two sides.

37 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Fantastic crowd, the fantastic stadium

Argentina with a threatening free-kick from right corner

Argentina wins a free-kick on the far right. Messi is given the responsibility of taking it.
The number 10 looks to curl it to the near post, but Ochoa is on the case as he fist bumps the ball into the air.
As the ball makes its way down, he goes up to collect it but is fouled in the attempt.

34 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Both teams slowing it down
After the frenetic pace of the first 20 minutes or so, both sides seem content to gather themselves and look for any incisive routes to the goal.
There is the occasional burst of action from either side, but it has definitely tapered off in comparison with the initial stages of the match.

32 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

Everyone loves an underdo

Argentina look to be more positive

There has been a slight dip from Mexico in terms of effort, and Argentina are capitalising on it.

There have been a few waves of attack but the final third finish is lacking from the attackers.

28 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

2h ago (19:25 GMT)

Stat attack

With 25 minutes on the clock, here’s what the numbers are saying. Don’t forget, you can access these stats – and more – updated live, by clicking on the tab at the top of this blog.


2h ago (19:24 GMT)

Araujo goes into the book

He went in with a rough challenge on Acuna, who is on the field writhing in pain.

Yellow card issued straight away to the Mexican defender.

22 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico


2h ago (19:22 GMT)

Mexico win free-kick from decent range

Otamendi brings down Vega about 30 metres (33 yards) outside the box. Vega and Guardado are on standby to take it.

Vega dummies over the ball as Guardado launches a quick pass to the right to Alvarez nearby.

He attempts a cheeky cross into the box which is ultimately dealt with by the Argentinian defence.

20 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

2h ago (19:22 GMT)

Party time

With all these fans having such a good time with each other, is anyone in the stadium even watching the football?

“Every time the Argentina players keep possession or move forward with the ball,” Al Jazeera’s Usaid Siddiqui reports from the stadium, “the Mexican fans nearby jeer the La Albiceleste loudly, trying to drown out the cheers od the opposing fans.”

Mexico fans congregate prior to their country’s game with Argentina, on 26 November, 2022 at the World Cup in Doha.

Mexico fans are making their mark on Doha [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]

2h ago (19:18 GMT)

Drinkin’ in LA

In Boyle Heights, a working-class Latino neighbourhood east of downtown Los Angeles, fans have packed into a crowded bar to watch Mexico square off against Argentina.

Here in the small bar, down the street from a plaza famous for hosting mariachi music, the sound of drums and chants fill the air – and everyone here is supporting Mexico.

Brian Osgood

2h ago (19:16 GMT)

Mexico applying the squeeze

After Argentina looked to assert control in the early stages, Mexico have found a foothold in the match.

Whenever La Albiceleste are on the ball, there are Mexican players hovering nearby and ready to pounce.

Martino will be pleased with the effort shown by El Tri so far.

15 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

2h ago (19:16 GMT)

Messi the icon


2h ago (19:14 GMT)

Great atmosphere

There’s something about Latin American football supporters. The sound levels are just falling short of blowing the roof off Lusail Stadium!

This was not the case at the England vs USA match yesterday, but there was certainly a rambunctious atmosphere for the Brazil match earlier this week.


Fans are treated to a spectacular light show before each match [Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters]

Faras Ghani

2h ago (19:11 GMT)

Close opportunity from free-kick

Mexico win a free-kick as Montes is tasked with taking it from the left side of the pitch about 30 metres (33 yards) out.

The ball eventually gets to the boot of Herrera, who fails to get enough on it as the ball continues its path to the right of the goal.

10 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

2h ago (19:09 GMT)

First corner goes to Mexico

Martinez does well to close down Lozano by the right side corner, and the ball is deflected behind.

The corner is quickly taken but there isn’t enough height on it as it is quickly dispatched away by the Argentinian defence.

8 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

2h ago (19:07 GMT)

The Mexicans are winning (the singing)

2h ago (19:06 GMT)

Lusail welcomes the world

There is no shortage of supporters of either team here at Qatar’s largest football stadium.

Both Argentinian and Mexican fans were out here in large numbers before the game, and it’s a wonder how they could all be accommodated inside the 90,000-capacity stadium. Fans congregated in small groups, chanting and screaming praises for their respective teams, while taking friendly digs at each other in Spanish. Throw in some horns, trumpets and drums and it’s a real party out here.

One Argentine teenager went into a crowd of Mexicans, attempting to show off his salsa skills. While he clearly failed to belt out anything decent, he was loudly cheered as some tried to convince him to switch sides for today’s game.

Joining the fans were other musical groups who welcomed them into the stadium including one Arab performer who played a rendition of Shakira’s famous Waka Waka World Cup song on his Kanoon – an Arab harp.

Usaid Siddiqui


2h ago (19:05 GMT)

Argentina dominating early exchanges

Messi looking in vintage form as Argentina look to get an early goal in this contest.

Mexico are doing well to keep to their lines, but they will need to fight back against this onslaught.

Vega brings down Montiel and he looks to be in a spot of bother as he is tended to by the medical staff.

There is a VAR check in case of any untoward action on the behalf of Vega, but it is deemed accidental.

5 mins: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

2h ago (19:02 GMT)

Argentina fans respond:

Outside the Lusail stadium, 45-year-old Constantino Guonides says the loss against Saudi Arabia is “behind us”. He is confident the La Alberceleste will win today and eventually qualify from the group stages to the knockout rounds.

“We are upbeat about winning today – we have to be. There is no other way out for us.” he told Al Jazeera.

“I don’t want to thinking of the possibility of losing whatsoever. There is lot of pressure. We did not expect the last loss but it OK … I think Messi knows the stakes.”

Constantino is here in Qatar with his family of five. He loves football and is a huge fan of Boca Juniors, Maradona’s former club. This is his fourth World Cup and his family’s first.

Had he heard of the violence between a few Argentine and Mexican fans?

“That is not OK with me,” he said. “Let the players do the battle on the field. Football is supposed to be a celebration.

“It’s been great here. We have had no major problems … People are very hospitable,” the Buenos Aires resident said.

Argentina fans.

Constantino and his family [Muneeb Siddiqui/Al Jazeera]

3h ago (19:01 GMT)


The national anthems have been heard and the players are ready.

El Tri will kick it off going right to left on your screens.

Argentina will use their customary 4-4-2 formation, while Mexico elects to go in with a more defensive 5-3-2 scheme.

1 minute: Argentina 0-0 Mexico

3h ago (18:57 GMT)

Mexico fans smell blood

Outside the stadium, Abel Costa, 51, says the mood among Mexico fans is very exciting – they feel they can win the game tonight, after a decent performance against Poland, and the pressure on the Argentine players to win after their historic loss against Saudi Arabia:

“The pressure is all on Argentina. They need this one more than us,” he told Al Jazeera. “Yes, we need to absolutely win but they are more nervous; their confidence is low after their defeat against Saudi Arabia,”

Costa, from Guadalajara, and decked out in his Mexican football jersey and a palm straw hat, added, “What we need to do is play better defence. Not give Messi space. Our defence has been a historical pain.”

Usaid Siddiqui

3h ago (18:55 GMT)

Mexican players to watch

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa dominated the news after pulling off a penalty save on Robert Lewandowski in the previous match.

He will once again be tasked to put up a wall against an Argentinian attack who will be looking to pepper his end as much as possible.

Hirving Lozano and Alexis Vega will also look to keep their connection strong as they failed to make any inroads the last time around.


3h ago (18:52 GMT)

Argentinian players to keep an eye on

It would be almost too lazy to highlight Lionel Messi in this section. So instead, lets shift focus to his partner up front, Lautaro Martinez.

The young Inter Milan forward has been raking it in for the club over the past few years, where so far this season he has managed eight goals in 21 appearances.

If he can replicate some of that form today, he could be a potential breakout star in the making.

3h ago (18:44 GMT)

Will Messi reach the summit?

One of the more popular narratives going into this tournament was that this would most likely be the final chance for Messi to add the one trophy that has eluded his burgeoning war chest.

Suffice to say, plenty of people the world over have their views on that. One of them, Shubi Arun, investigates a bit further.



3h ago (18:36 GMT)

Where do legends come from?

If you have ever pondered that question, well, Natalie Alcoba has you covered as she explores the humble beginnings of Messi and Maradona.



3h ago (18:27 GMT)

From one great to another

Argentina have produced world-class footballers over the decades. They have, after all, won two World Cups.

However, two men with ridiculous skills, have overshadowed their teammates – and most of the footballers ever produced on this planet.

So, it’s rather fitting to see the two number 10s on the back of most Argentina shirts here at Lusail Stadium tonight.

No real surprises as they are the shirts of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

argentina fan

Maradona remains beloved in Argentina [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]

Argentina fans congregate prior to their country’s game with Mexico.

Argentina fans congregate prior to their country’s game with Mexico [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]

3h ago (18:26 GMT)

Mexico starting XI announced

Mexico XI: Guillermo Ochoa, Héctor Moreno, Néstor Araujo, César Montes, Jesús Gallardo, Luis Chávez, Andrés Guardado, Héctor Herrera, Kevin Álvarez, Alexis Vega, Hirving Lozano


3h ago (18:23 GMT)

Argentina starting XI announced

Argentina XI: Emiliano Martinez, Gonzalo Montiel, Nicolás Otamendi, Lisandro Martínez, Marcos Acuña, Rodrigo De Paul, Guido Rodríguez, Ángel Di María, Lionel Messi, Alexis Mac Allister, Lautaro Martinez

3h ago (18:16 GMT)

El Tri look to bounce back

Manager Gerardo Martino, who should be well known to Argentinian fans after his 2014-16 run at the helm of their squad, will be looking for a chance to exact some revenge on his old side.

Stretching back to November 2018, the sides have faced off on just three occasions, with Argentina winning the lot without conceding a single goal.

If Mexico are to dream big in this tournament, they will need to rectify that trend.

Despite the documented injury to star player Raul Jimenez, it looks like the Wolverhampton forward should be fit to play.

3h ago (18:05 GMT)

Fully fit La Albiceleste raring to go

After the torrential downpour of bad press they received following the Saudi Arabia result, Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni will be pleased that his squad at least got away rather unscathed physically.

You can expect Scaloni to go in with a 4-2-2 formation once more, which served the side well when they went on their 36-match unbeaten run prior to Tuesday’s outcome.

4h ago (17:59 GMT)

Both sides look to settle scores after disappointing first outing

After being humbled by Saudi Arabia in their opening fixture, the task has become somewhat straightforward for Argentina. They will most likely need to eke out two victories in their remaining matches to give themselves the best chance of progression into the next round.

The same can be said about Mexico’s situation as well, given the tame 0-0 result they had with Poland.

Lionel Messi, who is looking to put the cherry on what has been a glittering career, will be aware of how influential his role will be in dragging his side deeper into the tournament.

Argentina, however, should be aware of the immense threat Mexico possesses, so they would be mistaken to underestimate them.

Can Argentina finally triumph or will Mexico put paid to those desires? Stay tuned as we build up to the opening kickoff.

4h ago (17:30 GMT)

Argentina’s economic crisis rages while eyeing third World Cup

Back in Argentina, the country, roiled by a prolonged financial crisis which has crippled the country’s economy, hasn’t been deterred in its World Cup ambitions despite the continuing hardship.

“I hope with all my heart that we win,” Marina Leon, the owner of a family-owned bar in Buenos Aires, told Al Jazeera. “To give people a little bit of joy. People have really been struggling.

Read more: Amid economic crisis, Argentina hopes for World Cup glory


4h ago (17:15 GMT)

Recaps: Argentina vs Saudi Arabia, Mexico vs Poland

Before kickoff, catch up on Argentina and Mexico’s previous matches at the 2022 World Cup.

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia 1-2: World Cup 2022 – as it happened

Mexico vs Poland 0-0: World Cup 2022 – as it happened

Argentina v Saudi Arabia

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia match at Lusail stadium [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

5h ago (17:00 GMT)

Group C: Mexico, Argentina, Poland, Saudi Arabia

How does Group C stack up compared with the others?

Find out here: All the groups ranked

Qatar football World Cup 2022 – GROUPS

5h ago (16:45 GMT)

Can you pick the winner?

Calling all football fanatics — check out our AI match predictor, Kashef. Do you have the smarts to beat our football bot?

Give it your best shot here.

INTERACTIVE – World Cup 2022 – Kashef – Argentina v Mexico – Nov 26

5h ago (16:30 GMT)

Argentina: A century of dominance

Historically speaking, Argentina have the edge here. Dating back to their first match in the inaugural 1930 World Cup, Argentina have recorded 14 wins over Mexico in 20 matches. Mexico, contrastingly, have only two wins under their belt against La Albicelestes.

The last time the two teams met was during a friendly fixture contest in September 2019 when Argentina won 4-0. Notably, Lautaro Martinez registered a hat-trick in the game’s first half.

5h ago (16:15 GMT)

Who to watch for in Mexico?

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, playing in his fifth World Cup for Mexico, has cultivated a cult following after a number of solid performances on the world stage.

In Tuesday’s scoreless match versus Poland, Ochoa absolutely robbed captain Robert Lewandowski with a penalty kick to help his squad hold onto a 0-0 draw.

On the offensive front, Mexico boasts a formidable trio of attackers in Raul Jimenez, Edson Alvarez and Hirving Lozano.


6h ago (16:00 GMT)

Expect fireworks

If FIFA rankings are anything to go by, Mexico (13th) is going to prove a far more difficult task to beat than Saudi Arabia (51st).

The Mexican team will be sure to bring a reverberating fan presence to the game, amplifying the stakes. Meanwhile, Argentina have their backs against the wall.

Anything can happen. But one thing’s for sure: sparks will fly.

Lewandoski, one of Europe’s most prolific forwards, is yet to score at a World Cup

Mexico’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa blocks a penalty kick by Poland’s Robert Lewandowski during their World Cup match [Themba Hadebe/The Associated Press]

6h ago (15:45 GMT)

Who to watch on Argentina’s squad?

Need we say more than Messi? The pressure will be particularly high for Argentina’s skipper to perform after the Saudi Arabia loss, given the Paris Saint-Germain forward has previously hinted this will be his final World Cup.

Messi put away a penalty kick 10 minutes into the contest versus Saudi Arabia, but it was not enough to carry his team to victory.

Look for Angel di Maria and Julian Alvarez on the attack for Argentina as well.

6h ago (15:43 GMT)

Cheery Argentina fans take to the metro

One of the biggest games of the group stages – Argentina vs Mexico – is approaching.

The La Albicelestes fans are out in full force here in the metro, singing their teams songs, jumping up and down in the metro and using the train as a makeshift drum to create some infectious beats.

No sign they feel defeated by the loss against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Onlookers look overwhelmed but also trying to participate in the fun, cheering the Argentines on and clapping along as the non-stop chanting goes on.

Usaid Siddiqui

6h ago (15:30 GMT)

Last chance for Messi’s men?

Argentina could punch an early flight back to Buenos Aires if Mexico deals La Albiceleste a loss on Saturday. Such a departure would be a shameful result for the Argentinian squad, a fan favourite that had previously been projected to advance through Group C with ease.

Argentina had previously beaten Saudi Arabia in their past four contests before Qatar’s regional neighbour pulled out an astonishing victory this week.

Messi – who has claimed every other major trophy he has played for, except the World Cup – may never hoist football’s most decorated trophy if his team can’t rally around him on Saturday.

6h ago (15:15 GMT)

What to know about the match

In nail-biting fashion, 35-year-old Lionel Messi’s international career is on the line.

Against Saudi Arabia, Argentina failed in their attacking play, registering seven offsides, despite dominating possession for almost two-thirds of the match.

Mexico, for their part, have had mixed results in recent international matches, coming off a draw, two wins and two losses.

Match preview: Argentina v Mexico

Argentina v Saudi Arabia

A loss to Mexico could spell the end of the tournament for Lionel Messi’s Argentina [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]


7h ago (15:00 GMT)

How to get there?

Hop on the Red Line to Lusail QNB Metro Station. The stadium is about a 20-minute walk from the station.

Stadium express buses to Lusail are available at Barwa Madinatna, Souq Waqif-North, FIFA Fan Festival, West Bay, Barwa Barahat Al Janoub. Service begins four hours before kickoff and concludes 90 minutes after the match.

Locals and residents are encouraged to drive if possible. Similarly, parking lots open four hours before kickoff and close 90 minutes after the matches end. Accessible parking options are available.

7h ago (14:45 GMT)

The venue: Lusail Stadium

Lusail Stadium can pack in a whopping 88,966 people. It is situated roughly 20 kilometres north of central Doha.

The stadium’s design, which resembles the lanterns synonymous with the Gulf region, also mimics the handcrafted bowls found all across the Arab world at the dawn of civilisation. The stadium’s golden exterior will fade with time to reveal a distressed metal look.

Argentina and Saudi Arabia played the first match at Lusail on Tuesday. The stadium will host the World Cup final on December 18.

After the tournament, the stadium will be transformed into a community space for schools, shops, cafes, sporting facilities and health clinics.

Lusail Stadium

Fans cheer at Lusail Stadium ahead of Tuesday’s match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

7h ago (14:30 GMT)

Welcome to the final match of Day 7

The first full week of the tournament will wrap up with an Argentina-Mexico match at Lusail Stadium at 10pm (19:00 GMT).

Follow all the latest news and updates before and through the game right here.

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