December 2, 2022

Lionel Messi fronts up to defeat after World Cup shock

4 min read



Doha, Qatar
CNN

Argentina’s game against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday was supposed to serve as the perfect springboard. Lionel Messi’s i last dance The World Cup.

The South American side were expected to overtake their rivals, 48 ​​places below them in the world standings, and fans turned out in droves to watch Messi put on a masterclass in what they say is his will be the last tournament.

But he was overshadowed by the Argentina captain. The biggest upset in the World Cup History and, as Saudi Arabia celebrated their win, Messi thundered down the tunnel.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has yet to lift a World Cup trophy, didn’t hide from embarrassment though.

As many of his teammates swarmed journalists on the way to the team bus, Messi was one of two players to speak to the media – the other being goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

“There are no excuses. We’re going to be more united than ever. This group is strong, and we’ve shown it,” he said.

“It’s a situation we haven’t been through for a long time. Now we have to show that this is a real group.

In the grand scheme of the tournament, an opening match loss isn’t necessarily the end of the world – after all, Spain won the 2010 World Cup after losing their tournament opener to Switzerland.

Argentina fans have flocked to Doha to watch their side play.

Argentina will still qualify for the knockout rounds if they win their next two games against Poland and Mexico but the defeat was felt particularly harshly at home.

Argentine media reacted to the shock aftermath using words such as “nightmare” and “unfathomable” to attribute no fault to him.

“Really? Dead,” Messi said when asked about the team’s morale. “It’s a very hard blow because we didn’t expect to start like this.

“We expected them to get the three points which will give us peace.

“My message to the supporters is to have faith. We will not leave them stranded.”

These supporters have gathered in force in Doha and the Saudis inside the Lusail Stadium on Tuesday were visibly outnumbered.

Thousands of people in blue and white shirts chanted Messi’s name as he entered the game and celebrated their hero as he won Qatar 2022 with a penalty in the opening 10 minutes.

But, at the age of 35, Messi is not at the peak of his powers and the Saudis have been able to reduce his chances at every opportunity.

Argentina’s players were still looking for Messi almost every time he took the ball. If he didn’t demand the ball himself, Messi often orchestrated the play by indicating where he wanted the ball to go.

But despite the flash of talent, he could not find a place to change the game. At the final whistle, the Argentina fans sat in their seats and it was the Saudi supporters who ironically chanted Messi’s name.

As they left the venue, CNN overheard fans joking with volunteers and FIFA officials, asking them if they had seen Argentina captain Lionel Messi “since he disappeared all game.”

World Cup Saudi Arabia Argentina upset reaction gates

Watch the hilarious moment a Saudi football fan rips a door from its frame during a shocking upset.

00:45

– Source: CNN

Doha was buzzing with Saudi supporters into the evening and flags were being flown by Wednesday morning.

Excited fans exited the stadium and took the metro back into downtown Doha where the celebration continued, with many singing until their voices broke.

Others were busy reliving the experience on their phones, catching glimpses of the goals and watching footage of the celebrations from back home.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud later ordered a national public holiday on Wednesday as the world came to terms with such unexpected results.

Amidst all the excitement, though, Saudi manager Hervé Renard called for a focus on building a successful campaign.

Saudi Arabia will face Poland in their next match before Mexico.

Speaking to reporters after the match, he said, “We made history for Saudi football, it will remain forever, it is the most important thing.”

“But we need to think about looking ahead because we still have two games to go, very difficult for us.”

As for Messi, he will have another day in the sun at Qatar 2022.

What feels like the end of the world today will be a distant memory if he can inspire his team to victory against Mexico on Saturday.

Thousands of fans in Doha are praying that their hero will respond once again and confirm his status as the greatest player of all time.



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