Lionel Messi said Argentina had “no excuses” for their stunning 2-1 loss to lowly Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in one of the biggest World Cup shocks of all time. (opens in a new tab)
The South Americans came to Qatar on a 36-game unbeaten streak since 2019 and were seen by many as the tournament favourites.
But they got off to a disastrous start when the Saudis (opens in a new tab)ranked 51st in the world, scored twice early in the second half to complete an incredible comeback after Messi netted an early penalty.
It was calculated as the most unlikely World Cup victory in the tournament’s history, with the Asian nation having just an 8.7% chance of beating the South American side.
Much of the pre-tournament attention was on Messi, who is playing in his fifth and final World Cup and has never lifted the trophy before, coming closest in 2014 when Argentina lost the final to Argentina. Germany.
The PSG star called on his team-mates to pick themselves up and ‘unite’ after the stunning defeat.
“It’s a very hard blow for everyone, we didn’t expect to start like this,” Messi said.
“Things happen for a reason. We have to prepare for what’s to come, we have to win and it’s up to us.
“There are no excuses. We will be more united than ever. This group is strong, and we have shown it.
“It’s a situation that we haven’t experienced for a long time. Now we have to show that it’s a real band.
Messi’s men will face Mexico next Saturday, before wrapping up their Group C campaign against Poland.