Lionel Messi insists ‘it would be crazy’ if Argentina suffer group stage exit at the Copa America with side facing must-win final game against Qatar
Lionel Messi is adamant that it would be ‘crazy’ for Argentina to suffer a group stage exit at the Copa America.
The South American giants have a single point after their opening two matches and currently sit bottom of Group B behind Colombia, Paraguay and Qatar.
After a Messi penalty salvaged a point against Paraguay in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday night, Argentina know they must now beat 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar to avoid an embarrassing early exit.
Lionel Messi believes it would ‘be crazy’ if Argentina suffer a Copa America group stage exit
Richard Sanchez (L) scored in Belo Horizonte as Argentina drew to remain bottom of Group B
‘Frankly, it’s a little frustrating not being able to get the win we need to take the next step,’ Messi told reporters, via ESPN, following the 1-1 draw against Paraguay.
‘We knew this would be difficult, we’re still looking for the best group, for the best performance, to keep growing.’
‘[The squad] is hurt by the situation because we can’t manage to win a game, and we know today was key for us. We know we have to win the next game to advance.’
It proved an exasperating evening as Messi’s hopes of an international trophy took a knock
Argentina’s players had a number of inquests on the pitch as they froze against Paraguay
Colombia’s 1-0 win against Qatar earlier on Wednesday ensured they have secured top spot in the group and can now relax ahead of a final game against Paraguay.
For Messi and Co, it is win or bust as the Barcelona star chases a first major title with the national team.
‘We know we’ll be playing for our lives,’ Messi added.
‘It would be crazy if we can’t advance from the group stage, when basically three [teams] advance from each group. I have no doubt we’ll do it.’
After Richard Sanchez had fired Paraguay into the lead, Argentina froze. They turned to Messi and after the intervention of VAR, the Barcelona ace scored an equaliser from the penalty spot.
Argentina then had goalkeeper Franco Armani to thank as he ensured they secured a point as he saved a late penalty.
It took a second half penalty from Messi to ensure Argentina still have a chance to progress
A late penalty save from Argentina goalkeeper Franco Armani spared their blushes late on