Lionel Messi said Argentina’s shock loss to Saudi Arabia was a “very heavy blow” but vowed the South American champions would bounce back from the defeat.
“It’s a very heavy blow, a defeat that hurts, but we must continue to have confidence in ourselves,” Messi said after Argentina crashed to a stunning 2-1 loss in Group C.
“This group is not going to give up. We will try to beat Mexico,” he added.
Messi gave Argentina a 10th-minute lead from the penalty spot on Tuesday at the Lusail stadium but second-half goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari helped the Saudis pull off one of the greatest shocks in World Cup history.
It could have been so different but for three tight offside calls in the first half that went against Argentina, denying them three potential goals.
In the second half, coach Lionel Scaloni’s men failed to exploit the Saudis’ high defensive line.
“We know that Saudi Arabia is a team with good players, who move the ball around well and play a high line,” said Messi.
“We worked on that but we rushed it a bit. At 2-1 we got disorganised, we lost our performance level and started desperately putting the ball into the middle.”
Messi insisted that the team accepted their defeat and said the players were determined to put things right for the next game.