Lionel Messi Argentina

Argentina emerged as victors in a must-win game against Qatar, that helped them seal qualification to the knockout stages.

The Albiceleste had to labour for the win over Qatar in Porto Alegre. Lionel Scaloni’s side were obviously the better team but had an average performance from captain Lionel Messi and the rest of the team.

The first half of the match began with an early goal from Argentina, after a horrendous mistake by the Qatar defense gifted Lautaro Martinez with a chance. Lautaro Martínez finished the ball exquisitely, and that goal eased pressure on Argentina and gave them more confidence.

Argentina pressed high when they were with the ball,  and dropped deep inside their half when their opponents had possession.

In the second half, Qatar sent more attackers forward and pressed higher while searching for an equalizer.

Argentina got their second goal in the 82nd minute when Sergio Agüero embarked on a splendid dribbling run, rounded Boualem Khoukhi and scored a fantastic goal to give Argentina a two-goal lead and finish off the game.

Much more work to be done

Although Argentina managed to get a 2-0 victory over Qatar to avoid the shame of exiting at the group stages, but there’s still much work to do. The win was not convincing; the play from Argentina was not fluid and sad to watch. Lionel Messi has looked like a shadow of himself while playing for Argentina. The defense had been poorly organized and lacks composure.

They will need to be much more improved if they are to triumph in the last eight.

Argentina’s win not only booked them a place in the quarterfinals but they climbed up to second place in the group, which sets up a very preferable match against Venezuela in the next round.

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This article is brought to us by our Sports Writers Club resident columnist – Collins Michael Nwokolo. Follow him on Twitter and Pinterest.