Lionel Messi has made an honest admission following Argentina’s loss to Uruguay in their World Cup qualifiers meeting.
On Thursday, Uruguay defeated Argentina 2-0, which ended the world champions’ 14-match unbeaten streak. It was Argentina’s first loss since their shocking 2-1 defeat against Saudi Arabia in their opening fixture at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Barcelona defender Ronaldo Araujo opened the scoring for Uruguay in the 41st minute before Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez doubled their lead a few minutes before the full-time whistle. Uruguay’s latest victory at La Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires was their second big win under new coach Marcelo Bielsa after beating Brazil 2-1 in October.
Speaking at a post-match interview, Messi admitted that his side “never felt comfortable” throughout the game on Thursday, which has always been the case owing to Uruguay’s “physical” nature of play and their “good teamwork”.
“They have physical and fast players in the midfield. We never feel comfortable and we didn’t find a way to possess the ball for a long period of time. So the game was played on a fast pace and we fall for that style, which isn’t the best for us,” the World Cup-winning captain added.
The Argentina skipper also heaped praise on his compatriot Bielsa for improving the Uruguayan side.
“You can see Bielsa’s hand in the team. They have a good team that plays well. We had to lose someday, this happens. They are an intense team and it was difficult for us to play our game,” Messi said of Bielsa, who served as Argentina’s head coach from 1998 to 2004.
Argentina have one final game remaining this year and it is a big fixture against Brazil in the ongoing international break. Speaking of the game, Messi said his team needs to keep the defeat to Uruguay behind and focus on their upcoming meeting with Brazil.
“With Brazil, it is a separate game, with a lot of history. We have to get up, always respecting what they are,” said Messi.
Argentina will travel to Rio de Janeiro to take on Brazil on Nov. 21 at Maracanã Stadium. Brazil will look to bounce back as they suffered a 2-1 loss after an emotional Luis Diaz netted a brace to take Colombia to victory at home.
In the CONMEBOL standings, La Albiceleste is still at the top of the 10-team South American qualifying group with 12 points from five matches, two points ahead of Uruguay.