After appearing like their efforts were just not paying off, the Argentinian talisman comes to the party, and how!
It was going to be a moment of brilliance.
Messi just hangs out, 30 yards from the goal, when the ball's fed to him. He has time and space, takes a lovely left-footed touch to move the ball across his body, and, with his second touch, hammers the ball on the bounce into the corner.
No chance for the goalkeeper. Messi makes his mark. Argentina in front.
Lusail Stadium explodes as the fans are treated to a very special moment.
Argentina and Mexico were goalless at the break after a feisty but scrappy opening period, with both sides lacking a touch of composure and quality in the final third in Saturday's Group C clash at a raucous Lusail Stadium.
Mexico forward Alexis Vega drew a diving save from Emiliano Martinez from a dangerous free-kick just before the break, while the closest Argentina came was when Lionel Messi nodded wide and Lautaro Martinez sent his header over the crossbar.
Earlier, Lionel Scaloni made five changes to his Argentina side for Saturday's Group C clash. The South Americans return to the scene of their shock defeat by Saudi Arabia, hoping to reignite their pursuit of a third World Cup title.
Argentina brought Guido Rodriguez and Alexis Mac Allister into midfield and Marcos Acuna, Gonzalo Montiel and Lisandro Martinez into defence, but kept faith with their strike force of Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Lautaro Martinez.
Mexico, who scraped a goalless draw with Poland in their opener, dropped forward Henry Martin and stuck with Hirving Lozano and Alexis Vega up front.
Tata Martino brought in defenders Kevin Alvarez and Nestor Araujo along with midfielder Andres Guardado, but again opted against starting forward Raul Jimenez.
Argentina XI: Emiliano Martinez, Gonzalo Montiel, Rodrigo De Paul, Marcos Acuna, Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Guido Rodriguez, Nicolas Otamendi, Alexis Mac Allister, Lautaro Martinez, Lisandro Martinez
Mexico XI: Guillermo Ochoa, Nestor Araujo, Cesar Montes, Alexis Vega, Hector Moreno, Hector Herrera, Andres Guardado, Hirving Lozano, Jesus Gallardo, Luis Chavez, Kevin Alvarez