FIFA World Cup

Argentina's Lionel Messi Nets 40th International Goal

Argentina's Lionel Messi, second right, celebrates after scoring the first goal during the group F World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Iran at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 21, 2014. Argentina won 1-0.  (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press
Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffJune 23, 2014

Superstar Lionel Messi saved Argentina from a disappointing draw with Iran by scoring a goal one minute into stoppage time to clinch a 1-0 victory at the World Cup on Saturday. The goal made Messi only the second Argentinian to reach 40 international goals, joining Gabriel Batistuta, per ESPN FC.

Messi has now scored in both of Argentina's games in Brazil, having also found the back of the net in La Albiceleste's opening 2-1 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina last Sunday.

The back-to-back goals are a significant turnaround for Messi, who actually scored in his first-ever World Cup game back in 2006 in Germany against Serbia and Montenegro. However, he failed to find the back of the net in both of Argentina's next two games during the '06 Cup, or in any of their five games in South Africa four years ago.

Coincidentally, two other star international players reached the 40-goal mark in Brazil, as England's Wayne Rooney and Uruguay's Luis Suarez both scored in their match Thursday, which Uruguay won 2-1.

With his team already through to the knockout stage, Messi will have at least two more chances this summer to get closer to Batistuta's Argentinian record of 56 international goals. First up is Thursday's final group game against a Nigerian side that is sitting at four points through two games.

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