Argentina continued their flawless opening to 2026 World Cup qualifying in South America with a 2-0 victory over Peru on Tuesday, powered by two goals from Lionel Messi.
The goals took Messi’s tally for Argentina to 106, further cementing his status as one of football’s greatest ever players. At age 36, he shows no signs of slowing down.
Messi wasted no time making his mark after being restored to Argentina’s starting XI following a substitute appearance last week. His clinical finishes in the 32nd and 42nd minutes were more than enough to down Peru.
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The Inter Miami star crashed home the opener before adding a second thanks to good work from Enzo Fernandez. Argentina never looked troubled as they maintained their 100% qualifying record.
The win leaves Argentina top of the South American group with 12 points from 4 matches, 5 points ahead of the chasing pack. It puts them firmly on track for automatic qualification for the expanded 48-team 2026 World Cup.
While Messi led Argentina to victory, Brazil suffered a shock 2-0 loss to Uruguay in Montevideo. It was Brazil’s first defeat to their rivals since 2001. Their misery was compounded by Neymar limping off injured in the first half.
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Elsewhere, Venezuela’s 3-0 thrashing of Chile blew open the battle for the remaining automatic spots. Yeferson Soteldo starred with a goal and two assists for La Vinotinto.
Paraguay also got off the mark with a 1-0 win over Bolivia, while Colombia earned a credible 0-0 draw away to Ecuador.
After four matches, the South American qualifiers are shaping up to be a tight race behind runaway leaders Argentina. But with Messi still at the peak of his powers, Argentina look primed to qualify in style.