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FIFA World Cup 2022: Lionel Messi, Argentina Underneath Survival Strain for Mexico Sport

A chant has been doing the rounds amongst Saudi Arabia supporters — and even some from Brazil — within the fan parks and streets of Doha on the World Cup.

“The place is Messi? We broke his eye!” they sing in Arabic, utilizing a slang expression that means to convey disgrace on an individual.

Messi and his Argentina crew are being mocked after a humbling 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia that has left their presence on the match in large — and utterly unexpected — hazard.

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Argentina wants to right away bounce again in opposition to Mexico on Saturday, in any other case an embarrassing early exit awaits.

“We at all times stated we have been going to look to win each sport,” Messi stated, “and now greater than ever.”

A compatriot — certainly the crew’s former coach — may mastermind the deadly blow to Argentina.

Gerardo Martino led his native Argentina from 2014-16, shedding the Copa America last in back-to-back years in that point earlier than quitting.

Now Martino is Mexico’s coach and seeking to information the crew into the final 16 — maybe on the expense of Argentina — and past. In spite of everything, Mexico has famously misplaced its first match of the knockout stage in every of the final seven World Cups, twice to Argentina, in 2006 and 2010.

This time, the groups’ assembly comes within the group stage nevertheless it already has the texture of a do-or-die event simply seven days into the match, particularly for Argentina.

“Now it has ended up being three finals for every of us,” stated Martino, whose crew tied its opening Group C sport with Poland 1-1.

“We by no means imagined a state of affairs like tomorrow’s,” he added Friday, “however we work for Mexico and we wish the most effective for Mexico.”

That is Lionel Scaloni’s first disaster as Argentina coach — he hadn’t misplaced a sport earlier than the Saudis’ rally at Lusail Stadium on Tuesday — and it stays to be seen how he reacts. Will he give the identical gamers an opportunity to make amends? Or did he see sufficient dangerous issues within the opening group sport to necessitate some modifications to his lineup?

Middle again Cristian Romero, full backs Nahuel Molina and Nicolás Tagliafico, and midfielders Rodrigo De Paul and Leandro Paredes appear most in danger. In fact, Messi goes nowhere from the beginning lineup, even when he might be deployed in a different way.

Scaloni is certain about one factor, although.

“We is not going to change our type after what occurred on Tuesday,” Scaloni stated. “We’ll play the identical method.”

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Argentina’s 36-match unbeaten run ended with the loss to Saudi Arabia, and Scaloni stated he was ready for it.

“For a very long time, every part was good for us. Every little thing was pleasure,” he stated. “I used to be the primary to be prepared for that blow … It will have been nice to proceed on that streak however that’s not potential.

“Fortunately sufficient, that got here in our first match. What’s necessary for us is going through each match prefer it’s our final one. A match may be misplaced nevertheless it’s the way you bounce again, the way you stand up.”

Mexico has by no means crushed Argentina in three makes an attempt on the World Cup, and Martino’s worst defeat as Mexico coach was by the hands of his countrymen. That was in September 2019, when Lautaro Martínez scored a hat trick in a 4-0 win.

Argentina will take a win of any variety on Saturday again at Lusail Stadium, the place the World Cup last will even be performed on Dec. 18. It will be folly for both crew to be trying that far forward.

“There’s no stress as a result of we’re nonetheless counting on ourselves,” Martinez stated Friday by an interpreter. “We now have belief within the technical workers, we belief each participant.

“We’re calm, assured and we’ll break our backs for Argentina.”

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