(CNN Spanish) — Lionel Messi is remarkably leading Argentina in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Albiceleste captain has so far three goals and one assist, with which he is about to tie his best mark in World Cups, when in Brazil 2014 he scored in four occasions and put in a goal pass.
Precisely in Brazil 2014, when Argentina was a finalist, it was where Messi had one of his best matches in the World Cup. Here we present this and other memorable World Cup matches of the Argentine captain.
The best 5 matches of Messi in World Cups
Goal and assist in his first game in a World Cup
It was in Germany 2006 when Messi played his first game in a World Cup. Argentina was playing Serbia and Montenegro in their second match of the group stage and wanted to secure their place in the round of 16 with a win. The game was very easy for the Albiceleste, so much so that at minute 41 they were already winning 3-0.
In the second half, at minute 75, Messi —a few days after his 19th birthday at the time— came on as a substitute for Maxi Rodríguez, who scored a double in the game. Three minutes were enough for the young Lionel to be present: in a play from the left wing, he provided a precise assist for Hernán Crespo to push the ball into the net and thus make it 4-0.
Carlos Tévez made it 5-0 at minute 84, which already seemed like everything in the match. However, in the 88th minute, Messi appeared, now on the right wing, to score his first goal in the World Cup. To date, the Argentine star is the seventh youngest player to score a goal in a World Cup.
Double against Nigeria in Brazil 2014
In the group stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Messi had already carried the team on his shoulder. In the first two days, two of his goals helped Argentina to beat Bosnia and Iran.
The final group match was against Nigeria and the Albiceleste wanted to close their round perfectly. And so it was, largely thanks to Messi. The Argentinian star scored twice in the 3-2 victory in that game, which took the team to first place in the group with 9 points and paved the way to the World Cup final against Germany.
This double has been the only one that Messi has done in World Cups.
Nigeria again… and Messi again: the dramatic pass to the second round
The group stage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia was the complete opposite of Brazil 2014: Argentina reached the bottom of their zone with just one point, after drawing with Iceland and losing by a landslide against Croatia.
The Albiceleste absolutely needed a victory against their last rival, Nigeria, and hope that Iceland did not beat Croatia. The results were given: the Croats won 2-1 and Argentina took the victory by the same score.
Messi had not contributed in the annotations in the past two games, but against Nigeria he was the first to help the team, scoring at minute 14. The Africans equalized at minute 51; However, when everything was uphill, Marcos Rojo scored the winning goal a few minutes from the end of the game. With this, Argentina advanced to the round of 16 as second place in their group.
Messi assistant in 2018, but it was not enough
As second place in Group D, Argentina had to face the first position in Group C, which was the French team, one of the favorites to win in Russia 2018 (and that’s how it ended up being).
If Argentina wanted to be a firm candidate for the cup, they had to beat the Gauls. The game got complicated from minute 13, when Antoine Griezmann scored via penalty. However, Ángel Di María put the ball into the net with a very powerful shot from outside the area before the end of the first half.
The Argentine illusion grew with the goal of Gabriel Mercado at minute 48, already in the second half. In the scoring play, Messi appeared: from the right wing, the soccer star took the ball in the big area and attempted a shot, which ended as an assist, as the ball ended up hitting Mercado’s right foot.
But Benjamin Pavard and Kylian Mbappé almost completely ended the joy of the South Americans, because in a period of just over 10 minutes (at 57, 64 and 68) they scored a goal and a double, respectively, to leave the score 4- two. Messi reappeared to revive, at least for an instant, hope: at minute 93, he put an exact cross at the head of Sergio “Kun” Agüero, who scored the goal. The effort was not enough and the Argentines ended up eliminated in the round of 16 with a score of 4-3.
The historic final in Qatar 2022
He scored two goals. He scored a penalty in the final shootout. He was the champion captain. Leader. The record breaker.
In his 26th game in the World Cup, a historical record, he reached 13 goals in a suffered match in which Argentina drew 3-3 with France in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Argentina was world champion on penalties (4-2), with a score from Messi in the shootout.
Lionel Messi set the title as his goal and he achieved it. He scored in the upset loss to Saudi Arabia. Goal and assist in the win over Mexico. Goal in the win over Australia in the round of 16. Goal and assists in the tie with the Netherlands in the quarterfinals, and he scored his penalty charge. Goal and assist in the win over Croatia in the semifinal. And a double in the final against France, and a penalty scored in the final round.
He was the second top scorer of the tournament and Ballon d’Or of the World Cup.
With information from Uriel Blanco and Sebastián Jiménez