What’s next for Lionel Messi, Argentina? Their future after losing to Saudi Arabia, explained
Entering the World Cup as a favorite, Argentina fell to underdog Saudi Arabia 2-1 in a thrilling match. The loss ended Argentina’s 36-match unbeaten streak.
Argentina, who are now the bottom team in Group C, had not lost since falling to Brazil 2-0 in the 2019 Copa América.
At the half of Tuesday’s match, Lionel Messi and company were up 1-0. They tallied three additional goals which were ruled offside and disallowed. Saudi Arabia took advantage in the second have, scoring twice in 35 minutes.
With no margin for error, the loss leaves Argentina’s fate hinging on the final two games of the group. Mexico and Poland, the other two teams in the group, drew 0-0 in their first match on Tuesday.
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Saudi Arabia leads the group with three points, followed by Poland and Mexico with one point each. The top two teams advance, and Argentina will have to win at least one of their last two matches to get to the knockout round.
The 35-year-old Messi, playing in his fifth — and likely his final — World Cup, will next take on Mexico, Saturday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. ET. Argentina finishes group play on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 2 p.m. ET against Poland.
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Messi is one of four players making their fifth World Cup appearance. He joins Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, and Mexico teammates Guillermo Ochoa and Andrés Guardado.
Argentina first won the World Cup in 1978, and then again in 1986 — one year before Messi was born. The team reached the final in 2014 and lost to Germany. In a bitter follow-up four years later, Argentina was eliminated in the round of 16 in Russia.
Contributing: Associated Press
Contact Analis Bailey at email@example.com or on Twitter @analisbailey.
Source: USA Today
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