LUSAIL, Qatar (22–NOVEMBER) — Lionel Messi and his teammates had ‘no excuses’ after Argentina was shocked 2-1 by Saudi Arabia in their Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C opening game at Lusail Stadium on Tuesday.
Messi gave Argentina the lead when he converted a 10th-minute penalty kick but the pre-World Cup joint favorites were left stunned after Saudi Arabia scored twice in a five-minute span early in the second half to send shockwaves around the world and scored one of the biggest World Cup upsets ever.
The victory was the greatest result Saudi Arabia has ever had and they know that another win against Poland later this week would secure passage into the second round. But for Messi and Argentina, it’s picked me backup time against Mexico on Friday.
He claimed he and his teammates took the defeat as “a very hard blow” but is prepared to bounce back. No time to seek sympathy.
“The truth? Dead. It’s a very hard blow because we did not expect to start in this way,” Messi told reporters.
“We expected to get the three points that would have given us calmness,” added Messi who has now scored seven goals at a World Cup tournament, the game as Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal. “Things happen for a reason. We have to prepare for what is coming, we have to win, and it depends on us.
“There are no excuses. We are going to be more united than ever. This group is strong, and we have shown it. It is a situation that we haven’t gone through in a long time. Now we have to show that this is a real group.
“It’s a painful loss but we have to continue to trust ourselves,” he said. “We must turn the page and move on. We have to analyse what went wrong. Focus on the positives and turn our attention to the game against Mexico.”