Before facing Saudi Arabia, Lionel Messi told the press conference that the match is going to be difficult. However, football lovers did not even think that Argentina will lose to the opponent who is 48 steps behind in the FIFA ranking! Messi, however, did not change his previous statement and said that the Asian team did not surprise them.
Title hopefuls Argentina lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their World Cup ‘C’ group match at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar on Tuesday. Lionel Scaloni’s disciples took the lead from Messi’s spot-kick in the tenth minute of the first half. Then three of their goals were disallowed for offside. In the second half, Saudi made a combination of solid defense and fast attack. They sent the ball into the Argentine net twice in five minutes. Salem Al Dawsari scored the winning goal after Saleh Al Shehri equalized.
Messi, a record seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, credited his opponents after a disappointing loss. “We knew that if we gave them a chance, they would play (well),” he told the media. They did not surprise us. We knew they could do something like that.
Argentina, who went to Qatar with the dream of winning the world, is under pressure. Their next two opponents, Mexico and Poland, are far ahead of Saudi Arabia in terms of strength. As a result, Albiceleste is worried about getting through the group stage. Messi comments on the current situation, ‘It is a situation in which the players of this team have never been. After a long time, we played such a big hit. We did not expect to start like this.
After being undefeated for 36 consecutive matches, Argentina has forgotten the taste of defeat. This has created a situation where they have their backs against the wall again. Messi does not see the option of winning to turn around and return to the familiar path, ‘Of course, we have no option to win now. It is our responsibility to correct what we have done wrong. And we have to go back to basics.
The gap between the two goals is only five minutes. The 35-year-old Messi thinks that Argentina made a mistake in the game at the time, ‘We lost 2-1 after five minutes and then the match became very difficult. We lose unity and keep hitting the ball around.
Despite the big shock, he asked for the support of the fans for the next two matches, ‘We are fine. Of course, we were hurt as a result. But people have to believe that this team will not let them down. We will squeeze everything in the next two matches. We have played such matches before and we will perform well.