Lionel Messi reacts to Argentina’s stunning Saudi Arabia collapse: "No excuses"

Messi Saudi
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lionel Messi said Argentina have “no excuses” for their astonishing 2-1 defeat to lowly Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, one of the greatest World Cup shocks of all time. (opens in new tab)

The South Americans came to Qatar on a 36-match unbeaten run stretching back to 2019, and were considered by many to be the tournament favourites.

But they got off to a disastrous start when the Saudis (opens in new tab), ranked 51st in the world, scored two goals early in the second half to complete an incredible comeback after Messi scored an early penalty.

It was calculated as the most unlikely World Cup victory in the history of the tournament, the Asian nation given just an 8.7 per cent chance of beating the South American side. 

Much of the pre-tournament focus 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 Germany.

The PSG star called on his team-mates to lift themselves and “unite” after the stunning loss.

“It is a very hard blow for everyone, we did not expect to start this way,” Messi said.

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

“There are no excuses. We are going to be more united than ever. This group is strong, and we have shown it.

“It is a situation that we haven’t gone through in a long time. Now we have to show that this is a real group.”

Messi’s men face Mexico next on Saturday, before rounding off their Group C campaign against Poland.

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