After a meager first half, a stroke of genius from superstar Lionel Messi gave Argentina a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute – a redeeming goal as the South Americans needed a win after their embarrassing 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia to remain in the race for the round of 16. Young star Enzo Fernandez finally made it 2-0 in the 87th minute, Messi prepared it.
However, doubts about Messi’s stroke of genius arose after the game. Was the 35-year-old’s goal legal? The striker received a ball about 20 meters from the Mexicans’ goal and was able to finish unhindered. And hit flat in the right corner.
Alvarez in the line of fire
The hit was then analyzed again in detail in the “ORF” studio. And it turned out that when Messi shot attacker Julian Alvarez was just offside. That alone is not punishable, but the Argentine attacker was in the line of fire and moved away from the ball after the shot.
If the rules had been interpreted strictly, one could certainly have located a visual impairment for Mexican goalie Guillermo Ochoa. But referee Daniele Orsato from Italy gave the goal, which – like any other goal – was checked by the video referee.
Referee expert Thomas Steiner also had an explanation on “ORF” as to why the goal counted. “One of the most difficult decisions is a goalkeeper’s line of sight, because you have to be able to see the eye movements. The interpretation says: The further away from the goal, the greater the goalkeeper’s chance of being able to react. If the situation had been on the penalty spot, you would have reacted immediately and disallowed the goal. But here the striker is in the box, the goalkeeper would have had enough time to react.”