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2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Lionel Messi Scored Argentina’s Only Goal in Their 1-0 Win Over Ecuador

2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Lionel Messi Scored Argentina’s Only Goal in Their 1-0 Win Over Ecuador

2022 FIFA World Cup winner Argentina has just begun their title defence at the 2026 FIFA World Cup that is set to take place in the United States, Mexico and Canada. This edition of the FIFA World Cup will see the expansion of participating nations from 32 team to 48 and three host countries for the first time in the history of the competition, and its qualifying round is currently up and running across all continents, with defending champion La Albiceleste opened their title defence with a 1-0 victory over their South America opponent Ecuador in the qualifiers.

The scorer? You guessed it! Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, who is eyeing his eighth crown at the prestigious award next month.

 

Messi’s Magic in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Playing against an Ecuador side that featured Chelsea’s rising star Moisés Caicedo in this 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match, La Albiceleste knew they cannot take their opponent lightly. In fact, the game was almost ended in a goalless draw as the home side was struggling to find the net despite their 13 shots and 71% possession as a whole at Estadio Mâs Monumental. Matches like this one often call for the team’s best player to deliver, and it was that man again, who worked his magic to secure Argentina’s inaugural win in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

With 12 minutes remaining in normal playing time in this 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier, Lionel Scaloni’s men was awarded a freekick right before the edge of the penalty box, and the former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain forward Messi was eyeing to slot home a goal with his left-footed long-ranged shot. Despite the visitors’ best effort to set up a wall, Messi delicately hit the ball into the bottom left corner, and that was nothing Hernán Galíndez, the 36-year-old Ecuadorian goalkeeper could do with Messi’s magic and his 104th goal for Argentina at international level.

Messi’s wondergoal in this 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Argentina and Ecuador meant the defending FIFA World Cup champion has won all five matches after their all-important victory against France in the quadrennial tournament finale in Qatar last year. It is also worth to mention that Messi’s side did not concede any goals in all of the five games, signaling a well-deserved winning streak for the world no. 1 football country at the moment.

Also Read: Evan Ferguson: Manchester City Leading the Race to Sign Brighton & Hove Albion’s New 18-Year-Old Starboy

 

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Bolivia Is Next for Argentina in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Messi’s goal against Ecuador in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers meant he is now 4 goals away from tying Iran’s Ali Daei for the second place of the list of all-time leading goal scorers in men’s international football; The first remains Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo at 123 goals in 200 appearances, whose country will be meeting Slovakia at Tehelné Pole for the 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers tonight.

After beating Ecuador 1-0 at home, the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner Argentina will travel to Estadio Hernando Siles to face Bolivia in round two of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. La Albiceleste will surely be counting on the 36-year-old Inter Miami captain to show his brilliance once again in the match, as the team now looks forward to bag a sixth straight win since winning their third FIFA World Cup trophy last December.

The South American federation plays an 18-game qualifying schedule for the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, with 6 of 10 teams earning their tickets to the expanded 48-team competition in 2026. The hot favourites to qualify from this group are traditional powerhouses in football namely Argentina and their arch-rivals Brazil, who recently dropped Manchester United winger Antony due to his physical assault and domestic violence investigation claimed by his former partner Gabriela Cavallin. We have all the info on Antony’s case covered in this article: https://www.otherleague.com/soccer/antony-dos-santos-being-probed/

Steven Mosier

"Eat, breathe and sleep sports" is the life motto of mine. My professional athlete career ended way earlier than I thought, but the passion remains till the present, which is why I am here writing you all the sports news you crave! Also, I am a huge fan of the Premier League as well the NBA.

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