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Lionel Messi breaks World Cup assist record in Argentina’s win over Mexico

Lionel Messi breaks World Cup assist record in Argentina’s win over Mexico

Lionel Messi has broken a World Cup assist record after setting up Argentina‘s second goal in their 2-0 victory over Mexico at Lusail Stadium on Saturday.

The two-time world champions were under huge pressure heading into their second Group C clash after suffering a shock 2-1 defeat against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, and knew that defeat against Mexico would knock them out of the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

Messi was on the scoresheet against Saudi Arabia and he found the net again against Mexico, breaking the deadlock in the 64th minute with a low-driven strike from outside the area.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner then teed up Enzo Fernandez for his first senior international goal three minutes from time to wrap up the points for Argentina and keep their hopes of progressing to the last 16 alive.

Messi has now become the first player in World Cup history to provide an assist at five separate World Cup tournaments, breaking his own record, after setting up one goal in 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and now 2022.

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their first goal on November 26, 2022© Reuters

The Paris Saint-Germain star has also become both the youngest and the oldest player to both score and assist in a single World Cup match since the beginning of the 1966 World Cup.

Messi both scored and registered an assist at the age of 18 years and 357 days against Serbia and Montenegro in the 2006 group stage, and he has now repeated the feat against Mexico in this year’s tournament at the age of 35 years and 155 days.

Meanwhile, Messi has taken his World Cup goal tally to eight strikes after 21 finals appearances, which draws him level with fellow Argentine icon Diego Maradona, who also scored eight times in 21 appearances on the biggest international stage.

Messi has been in fine form in front of goal since the beginning of the 2022-23 campaign and has now recorded 19 goals and 15 assists in 24 games for club and country across all competitions.

Speaking to reporters after the match, Messi said: “It was a difficult match to get up, because Mexico plays well. We played intensely in the first half and in the second we calmed down and went back to being ourselves.

Lionel Messi scores for Argentina against Mexico at the World Cup on November 26, 2022© Reuters

“The first game (against Saudi Arabia) cost us, there are many conditioning factors. Even so, they were two isolated plays. We knew that today we had to win, that another World Cup was starting for us, and we knew how to do it.

“We can’t give up now. We have all the finals to play, we can’t make mistakes. We knew that the people’s response would be like this, I think we complied, we’ve been together for a long time hand.

“We all played the game as we had to. We were forced to carry it out and it’s difficult to play in those conditions, but both those who started and those who entered responded. There is another game to go, we accommodate but lack”.

Argentina have climbed up to second in Group C following their victory over Mexico and they currently sit one point behind leaders Poland, who will lock horns with La Albiceleste in their final group game next Wednesday.

Lionel Scaloni‘s side must win if they wish to finish at the summit of the group, while a draw could be enough to qualify if Saudi Arabia fail to beat Mexico.

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