Will the strike to deliver relief and release to a nation against Mexico end up as a footnote as just a fine goal, or is it the real start of something in Qatar for this team?
An ill-tempered game needed someone to lift it and as so often, Messi stepped forward. In his fifth and surely final World Cup, the Paris St Germain superstar set his team on the path to a crucial victory with a well-taken goal in the 64th minute. Messi was encouraged by what he saw but recognised that the job is not done, with a victory over Poland needed to guarantee a last-16 place.
A forward who cost £107million and scored in a World Cup final has been reinvented as a midfielder in Qatar