Messi laments ‘five-minute mistake’ against Saudi at World Cup

Soccer Soccer – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – Group C – Argentina – Saudi Arabia – Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar – November 22, 2022 Argentina’s Lionel Messi reacts after Saudi Arabia’s Saleh Al-Shehri scores his first goal REUTERS/ Marko Djurica

LUSAIL, Qatar – Lionel Messi bemoaned Argentina’s second-half concession against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday but said he was not surprised by the threat from opponents 48 places lower in the world rankings.

“It’s a situation that this group of players has never been through, it’s been a long time since we suffered such a difficult setback, we didn’t expect to start like this,” Messi told Argentine media after the 2-1 Group C defeat. .

Messi, making his fifth World Cup start, scored with a penalty in the 10th minute and Argentina were awarded three goals for offside in a free-flowing first half.

But in the second half, “after five minutes of mistakes we made, we were 2-1 down and then it was very difficult and we lost our organization and started punting the ball,” he said in comments reported by Todo Noticias.

Messi said his team knew Saudi Arabia could hurt them despite being the second-bottom team in the tournament.

“We knew this was a team that would play if we let them… They didn’t surprise us, we knew they could do it.”

Argentina must now focus on beating Mexico and Poland in their next group games in pursuit of the only major trophy to elude Messi in his otherwise glittering career.

“Of course we have to win or win now.” It’s up to us to fix what we did wrong and go back to the basics of who we are,” said Messi, whose side had been on a 36-match unbeaten run before the final at Qatar’s Lusail Stadium.

“We are fine, obviously hurt by the result, very bitter. But people have to trust that this team will not let them down and we are going to go for it in the next two games. We have played games like this before and we are going to do well.

“Now is the time to be more united than ever, to show how truly strong we are.”

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