What Lionel Messi thinks Argentina capable of in Qatar

LBefore the start of the World Cup, Messi doesn’t want to think about the opening game of Argentina, one of the favorites for the title, against Saudi Arabia. “That’s the mistake, isn’t it,” the football star replied in an interview with the Argentine sports newspaper “Olé” when the reporter speculated that Denmark or defending champions France could be opponents of the Argentines in the round of 16. “We have to focus on the first match,” said Messi. It has a fundamental influence on the further course of the tournament in Qatar.

In 2018, Argentina drew 1-1 with Iceland in their opening game. They had reached the round of 16 after a 3-0 defeat against Croatia, who later took part in the finals, thanks to a 2-1 win in the last group game.

Duel with Robert Lewandowski

But then it was already over in the first knockout round against eventual world champions France. 2014, as Argentina only lost to Germany in the final, the Albiceleste started the tournament with a 2-1 win over Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Argentina will face Saudi Arabia in Qatar on November 22 (11:00 a.m. CET, im FAZ live ticker for the World Cup and on MagentaTV), 51st in the world rankings, the South Americans are third behind Brazil and Belgium.

On November 26, the opponent is Mexico (20:00 CET, in FAZ live ticker for the World Cupon ARD and on MagentaTV) another four days later, at the latest, the decision about progression against Poland with Superstar will be made Robert Lewandowski (20.00 CET, in FAZ live ticker for the World Cupon ZDF and on MagentaTV).

“We know that we will fight for victory, but we are not the champions from the outset, as we Argentines think,” said Messi and then also told how son Thiago – one of three boys – already with the opponents busy and nervous. “To be honest, he puts me under a lot of pressure,” said Messi, laughing.

The Argentinian superstar will play his fifth World Cup. He was part of the squad for the 1978 and 1986 world champions for the first time in Germany in 2006. He also leads the 2022 squad that national coach Lionel Scaloni announced on Friday.

Messi has recovered from an Achilles tendon infection and the 35-year-old is ready for action at Paris Saint-Germain this Sunday against AJ Auxerre, PSG coach Christophe Galtier confirmed at a press conference on Friday.

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