Messi gives victory to Argentina at the start of the South American qualifying round | video

Argentina national teamreigning world champion, this Thursday began her journey to World Cup 2026 with a 1-0 win over Ecuador thanks to a free-kick Lionel Messi.

In a game played at the Estádio Monumental in front of 84,000 fans on the first day of the South American qualifying round, Messi broke a goalless draw with an experienced Ecuadorian team with a perfect shot.

After the game, the Argentine star commented on the situation.

Everyone always wants to beat Argentina, and now that we are world champions, even more, I think, even more, so we can’t go down, we even have to go up, which we did.

“The goal is to keep competing and qualify for the World Championship again. We really liked what we did, but we need to look ahead, this band is not going to relax beyond what it has achieved, which is something historical and extraordinary,” he added.

Albiceleste, with a squad very similar to the one that beat France in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final in Qatar, managed the action and created danger on several occasions, but they lacked accuracy to score more goals.

A shot from Lautaro Martinez to one of the posts and a shot from Messi blocked by goalkeeper Hernán Galindez were the clearest chances for albiceleste before the opening of the score.

The goal was scored in the 78th minute after Messi’s free kick went over the wall and hit the right post, surprising Galindes.

After the goal, Argentina again had a good chance thanks to a cross from Angel Di Maria, which hit the post.

With his goal, Messi equaled the Uruguayan Luis Suarez and became the top scorer in the qualifying tournament with 29 goals.

We are both pleased to be there, given what this tie means to us, and the fact that we are both here is something very pleasant.

On the second match day, Argentina will play this Tuesday away against Bolivia at the Hernando Siles Stadium in La Paz, while Ecuador will host Uruguay in Quito on the same day.

(according to Reuters)

Source: Aristegui Noticias