Argentina captain Lionel Messi. AP
Lionel Messi’s dream of matching late nice Diego Maradona’s Argentina legacy lives on.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or-winning ahead pulled degree with Maradona on eight World Cup targets and a report 21 appearances on the match for his nation on Saturday.
Messi’s sensible low strike from outdoors the field sparked a 2-0 win over Mexico to take them second in Group C, simply as their hopes of victory have been beginning to fade and worry was setting in.
Argentina’s talisman is 2 targets wanting their World Cup top-scorer Gabriel Batistuta’s tally of 10 targets, however his winner ought to deliver extra alternatives to overhaul “Batigol” in Qatar.
The true dream is emulating Maradona’s 1986 World Cup win, however Messi can content material himself for now by levelling Maradona’s World Cup look report and purpose haul, two years and a day after ‘El Pelusa’ handed away.
The curly-haired playmaker impressed Argentina to victory in Mexico in 1986, in addition to enjoying within the 1982, 1990 and 1994 editions.
Some insist Messi can’t be thought of the best of all time except he lifts the trophy, and in Argentina, Maradona’s gleaming World Cup legacy typically aids him in comparisons, his flawed genius successful out towards Messi’s near-perfection.
Maradona scored 5 and arrange one other 5 as Argentina waltzed to their second World Cup trophy 36 years in the past in Mexico.
Nearly a 12 months later Messi was born, however Argentina haven’t managed to carry the trophy in his lifetime.
The Albiceleste captain managed to encourage the workforce to second place in 2014, with Argentina dropping 1-0 in extra-time towards Germany within the Rio de Janeiro closing.
The Paris Saint-Germain No 10, enjoying in his fifth World Cup, transformed a penalty in Argentina’s opener however they crashed to a shock defeat by Saudi Arabia.
In opposition to Mexico he sporadically burst into life however his workforce have been largely suffocated by their energetic opponents.
Early within the second half Messi despatched a free-kick over the crossbar from a harmful place, as Argentina’s desperation grew.
Maradona scored solely 15 targets for Argentina in 41 aggressive appearances, in comparison with Messi’s 49 in 115, however some led him to World Cup glory.
After elimination within the second group stage in Spain 1982, Maradona returned with a vengeance 4 years later.
He conjured probably the most talked-about show in soccer historical past towards England within the quarter-finals.
The stocky attacker scored one of many nice all-time targets with a powerful solo dribble, after opening the scoring with the notorious “hand of god” punch over England goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
One other brace adopted towards Belgium within the semis and Maradona supplied an help within the 3-2 closing win over West Germany, maybe the nation’s best sporting second.
In 1990 Maradona guided Argentina to the ultimate however they fell 1-0 towards West Germany.
A wild eye-bulging celebration after scoring in 1994 World Cup turned a permanent picture — Maradona failed a medicine check and was despatched residence after two video games.
Messi, who turned the primary Argentinian to attain at 4 World Cups this week, struck on his debut on the 2006 match towards Serbia and Montenegro as an adolescent.
He was an unused substitute as Germany eradicated Argentina within the quarter-finals, then suffered one other 4-0 thrashing by the identical opponents on the identical stage in 2010.
Germany foiled Messi once more on the closing hurdle in 2014 and France beat them within the final 16 in 2018, the playmaker creating two targets in a 4-3 defeat.
Messi has by no means scored in a World Cup knock-out tie and with two targets in two video games this 12 months, and strikes in every of Argentina’s final six matches, this may very well be his time.