At the start of the South American qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, to be played in the United States, Mexico and Canada, the Argentine soccer team defeated Ecuador 1-0 at the Monumental Stadium with a superb goal from Lionel Messi, their captain.
After so much perseverance and perseverance, Argentina scored the goal from a Lionel Messi free-kick with 13 minutes to go. The Rosario man placed the ball in front of goal and opened the scoring by sending his shot over the wall in front of a motionless keeper. A target.
After scoring his 29th goal in the qualifying rounds, equaling Uruguay’s Luis Suárez as the top scorer in the history of that qualifying tournament, he was substituted and dismissed to a standing ovation. With two minutes left, Exequiel Palacios took his place and Ángel Di María remained captain. There wasn’t time for much more, although Lionel Scaloni’s team was close to increasing the difference.
“We knew it would be difficult, playing against a great team that has played well since the last clash, but this group will not relax because otherwise they will pass us,” said Messi after the game. “It wasn’t planned for me to go out but I was tired, it went away… It probably won’t be the last time I have to go out,” added the 36-year-old captain, smiling.
At the end of the first half, Lautaro Martínez had been the one close to scoring but the racquet gave him definition back. The forward sought a cross from Rodrigo De Paul’s right and scored between two opponents. The Inter Milan star immediately grabbed the header that can’t believe the losing streak in the Albiceleste shirt: his last goal came in September 2022, when he opened the scoring in a 3-0 win over Honduras in Miami.
Although Argentina won the title of world champions in Qatar 2022, they must face qualification and secure their place in the next World Cup in order to reach one of the six direct places or the playoffs that the seventh-placed team will play.