Lionel Messi’s second-half objective gave Argentina a 1-0 house win over Ecuador on Thursday to get their 2026 World Cup qualifying marketing campaign off on the suitable foot in entrance of 83,000 followers on the practically full Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires.
World champions Argentina have been dominant in possession, however annoyed in assault as they struggled to make the breakthrough.
Captain Messi, nevertheless, continued the effective type he’s displaying with membership facet Inter Miami of MLS by scoring from a free kick within the 77th minute.
“We played against a great team, with good players and physically strong,” Messi informed reporters. “Everyone always wants to beat Argentina and even more so now that we are the world champions. We can’t relax, we have to improve on what we’ve been doing.
“The goal is to qualify for the World Cup once more. We actually loved what we did however we’ve got to look forward.”
The result continues an impressive run for Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina side and his talisman Messi, who has now scored in his past eight matches played for Argentina and is tied with Luis Suarez on 29 for the most all time in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.
“It’s a pleasure for me that we’re each there,” said Messi, who has scored 104 international goals. “Given what the qualifiers imply for us in South American soccer, it is a very good factor for each of us.”
Argentina additionally prolonged their unbeaten streak in World Cup qualifying to 22 video games, with their final loss coming in opposition to Bolivia in 2017, the staff they face on Tuesday of their subsequent qualifier.
In different qualifiers, Paraguay drew 0-0 with Peru whereas Colombia claimed a 1-0 house win over Venezuela.
The first spherical of CONMEBOL qualifiers continues on Friday when Uruguay host Chile earlier than Brazil tackle Bolivia.
The South American federation performs an 18-game qualifying schedule, with six of 10 groups incomes bids to the expanded 48-team World Cup in 2026 — hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.