In a do-or-die match against Nigeria at the St Petersburg Stadium on June 26, Argentina qualified for the knockout stage by defeating the African country 2-1. But more than being a respite for Argentina, the match proved to be a boon for Messi who ended up breaking a couple of records.
With his 65th international goal, Messi became the first player to score goals in World Cup tournaments in three decades of his life — as a teenager, in his 20s and in his 30s. In the match, he also broke the record of most successful dribbles in the World Cup since 1966 — numbering at 107. He surpassed Maradona who previously held the record with 105 dribbles. In the ongoing tournament, Messi has 13 successful dribbles and stands at the top followed by Etebo of Nigeria who has 11 successful dribbles.
And no one was more ecstatic than the fans:
With that all-important opening goal against Nigeria (#NGA) yesterday, Argentina’s (#ARG) Lionel Messi became the first player ever to have scored a #WorldCup goal as a teenager, in his twenties and in his thirties.
— Sahil Bhalla (@IMSahilBhalla) June 27, 2018
Messi becomes the first player to have scored a World Cup goal as a teenager, in his twenties and in his thirties.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 26, 2018
When you have Messi, you always have a chance __ pic.twitter.com/1lNGqcCndJ
— Barca World (@BarcelonaFCHome) June 27, 2018
Messi made a fantastic comeback in Argentina’s last Group D encounter by striking the first goal of the match in the 14th minute.The other goal was scored by Marcos Rojo, which came in the final moments when there were only 4 minutes left on the clock. Lionel Messi, for whom this tournament was not going that well, had faced a lot of criticism for the first two games he played against Iceland and Croatia. In the first match, he missed a penalty and the match drew 1-1, whereas, Argentina faced a very humiliating loss to Croatia who thrashed them by 3-0 in the second match.
Here are some of the reactions of fans after Lionel Messi scored the much-needed goal:
Say what you want, Lionel Messi may have just scored one of the greatest goals in World Cup history pic.twitter.com/CFMHKELKKV
— Vince ______ (@MagicalZola) June 27, 2018
— The God’s Particle! (@burhanspeaks) June 27, 2018
TWO TOUCHES. JUST TWO TOUCHES. THAT BALL CONTROL, SO AESTHETICALLY PLEASING. MESSI IS RIDICULOUS_ pic.twitter.com/FrlNczQhPX
— Angie (@angiesta8) June 27, 2018
Messi 2nd touch had the defender frozen for a split sec and thats all the _ needed pic.twitter.com/pzbQGUIKIV
— Calmy Daniels __ ____ (@realoxtailgravy) June 27, 2018
Argentina will now face France at Kazan Arena on Saturday, June 30.
(Written by Abhijeet Ghumman)