Argentina’s ‘Messi goal’ secures Argentina’s first South American qualifier for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Lionel Messi scored an exhilarating free-kick to lead his country Argentina to victory in the first round of South American qualifying for the FIFA World Cup North America 2026.
The defending champions defeated Ecuador 1-0 in the first South American qualifier for the 2026 FIFA World Cup North America at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Monday (Aug. 8).
Argentina dominated possession, winning 71 percent of the ball, but were frustrated by their inability to convert their chances into goals.
Argentina fired 13 shots on goal on the day, but most of them were off target.
The solution was Messi.
Starting on the right wing, Messi rattled the net with a spectacular left-footed free kick in the 33rd minute.
After Lautaro Martinez won a free kick near the penalty spot, Messi struck the ball with his left foot, and after it cleared the defense, the ball took such a sharp trajectory that the goalkeeper couldn’t react and it bounced off the post and into the corner of the net.
Messi played 89 minutes until he was subbed off in the 44th minute for Exekiel Palacios.
Messi’s goal gave Argentina a comfortable start to their quest for a second consecutive World Cup title.
The tournament in North and Central America is effectively a “last dance” for Messi.
Born in 1987, Messi will be 39 years old in 2026, when the tournament will be held.
Messi announced his intention to continue playing for Argentina after winning the World Cup in Qatar last December, prompting coach Lionel Scaloni to respond, “If he wants to play, he should have the number 10 jersey ready for the next World Cup.”
In other qualifiers, Colombia defeated Venezuela 1-0 thanks to a Santos Borre goal shortly after the start of the second half, while Paraguay held Peru to a 0-0 draw.
Uruguay-Chile and Brazil-Bolivia will take place on Sept. 9.
The hands of the World Cup clock have begun to move again with today’s three South American qualifiers.
The 2026 North and Central American World Cup, co-hosted by Canada, the United States, and Mexico, will be the first tournament to expand from 32 to 48 qualifying nations.
The South American qualifiers kicked off first, with 10 nations (Uruguay-Colombia-Peru-Brazil-Venezuela-Bolivia-Paraguay-Argentina-Chile-Ecuador) competing in a full league.
The first round of qualifiers in Asia will begin in October. South Korea will compete in the second round of qualifiers in November.
African qualifiers will take place in November, with the first round of North and Central American qualifiers scheduled for March next year, and Oceania, which was allocated one ticket to the tournament for the first time, will hold its first qualifier in September next year.
Europe will decide who will advance to the 카지노사이트가이드 World Cup starting in March 2025.