Messi: 'No excuses' for shock Saudi Arabia loss


LUSAIL, Qatar — Lionel Messi advised his Argentina teammates there are “no excuses” for his or her shock defeat to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Argentina slipped to a 2-1 loss at Lusail Stadium regardless of main within the first half via Messi’s Tenth-minute penalty.

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The consequence will go down as one of many best upsets within the historical past of the World Cup, however Messi insisted there’s a approach again for his staff — one of many pre-tournament favourites — if they will cope with the setback.

Requested how his teammates have been feeling after the sport, Messi mentioned: “The truth? Dead. It’s a very hard blow because we did not expect to start in this way.”

“We anticipated to get the three factors that will have given us calmness,” Messi said. “Issues occur for a purpose. Now we have to arrange for what’s coming, now we have to win, and it is determined by 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 is a painful loss however now we have to proceed to belief ourselves,” he said. “We should flip the web page and transfer on. Now we have to analyse what went improper. Concentrate on the positives and switch our consideration to the sport in opposition to Mexico.”

Saudi Arabia manager Herve Renard suggested afterwards that Argentina — 48 places above his team in the world rankings — might have lacked motivation.

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Messi, however, insisted they had not taken their opponents lightly and told fans who have travelled to Qatar in their thousands that they will turn their World Cup campaign around when they face Mexico and Poland.

“My message to the supporters is to have religion,” Messi added. “We can’t depart them stranded.

“We knew that Saudi Arabia is a team with good players, that they move the ball well and that they push the [defensive] line a lot. We worked on it, but we rushed a bit. We have to go back to the base of who we are. We have to think about what’s next.”

Argentina arrived in Qatar because the reigning Copa America champions and on the again of a 36-match unbeaten run — they might have equalled Italy because the nationwide staff with the longest unbeaten run in historical past by avoiding defeat on Tuesday.

Coach Lionel Scaloni admitted afterward that the defeat was “difficult to absorb” however issued a promise that his staff would nonetheless qualify from Group C.

“They scored two goals in their only two shots on goal,” Scaloni mentioned.

“We have to get up. It’s a sad day today, but we need to have our heads up and continue. We are hurt, but we need to turn things around and win our next games.

“We proceed to imagine the identical as we did earlier than. The World Cup has this, you may be infinitely superior, and issues do not go your approach.

“It’s never good to lose. We came into the World Cup in the best possible way, on a good run. We knew that it would eventually end.

“Fortuitously, now we have two group video games, and we’re going to get it executed.”

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