• World Cup 2022

Saudi Arabia 2-1 Argentina: Messi reacts to “very hard” World Cup blow

Lionel Messi
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The Albiceleste suffered a surprise setback in the World Cup opener.

Lionel Messi has urged Argentina to show they are a “real group” after losing 2-1 against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Messi put Argentina ahead with a penalty only ten minutes into the game. The Albiceleste then missed a few chances to double their lead before half-time.

However, their opponents started the second period by completing a shocking comeback. Saleh Al Shehri and Salem Al Dawsari scored twice for Saudi Arabia in the span of ten minutes.

Argentina kept pushing for the equalizer for the rest of the game but couldn’t prevent the frustrating defeat.

“There are no excuses,” Messi told reporters in a post-match news conference.

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“It’s a very hard blow for everyone, we didn’t expect to start like this.

“We are going to be more united than ever. This group is strong and they have shown it.

“This is a situation that we did not have to go through in a long time. Now we have to show that this is a real group.

“Things happen for a reason. We have to prepare for what’s coming, we have to win and it depends on us.”

He added: “We knew that [Saudi] Arabia is a team with good players, that moves the ball well and that advances the [defensive] line a lot.

“We had worked on it, but that’s why we had many goals ruled out. Perhaps we did not find the right moment to avoid falling into the trap.”

Argentina will continue their Group C games with a clash against Mexico on Saturday.