Messi speaks on Argentina world cup chances
Argentina, according to Lionel Messi, cannot believe the hype that they are among the favorites to win the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Argentina ended a 28-year trophy drought in 2021 when they defeated Brazil in the Copa America final, and they are undefeated heading into this month’s tournament in Qatar.
Lionel Scaloni’s side is now unbeaten in 35 games dating back to 2019, a run that has many picking them to go all the way at the World Cup, which begins on Sunday with hosts Qatar taking on Ecuador.
When asked about Argentina’s chances, Messi told Universo Valdano, “All national teams are tough to play against these days.” “Every team [at the World Cup] will be tough to beat.”
“We haven’t played many games against European teams [during our unbeaten streak], but they don’t like playing against us either; playing against South American teams is also difficult.”
“We’re in good shape heading into the finals, but we can’t buy into the hype that we’re the favorites and will win.” We must be realistic and take things slowly.”
World champions France and Brazil are also among the favorites, and Messi believes they may pose the greatest threat to Argentina’s chances of success.
“France is great,” he added. “They have some injured players, but they have a frightening amount of potential in the squad.” They have top players and a coach [Didier Deschamps] who has been with the same group for a while and has already won the World Cup.
“Brazil has a core of players with a lot of quality, especially in the final third where they can beat men, good No.9s, Neymar.”
“We also have a strong core and players who are in good shape.” Gio’s [Lo Celso’s] injury was unfortunate because he is so important to us, but others have stepped up.
We intend to fight. That’s the plan. But first and foremost, we must focus on winning the first game [against Saudi Arabia on November 22].”
Argentina will play a friendly against the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday before the game against Saudi Arabia. Messi arrived in Abu Dhabi on Monday to train with his teammates in front of thousands of fans at the Al Nahyan Stadium.
One fan even attempted to enter the pitch to meet Messi as the Albiceleste trained, but was quickly apprehended by security.
Mexico and Poland round out Argentina’s group in Qatar on November 26 and 30, respectively.
At 35, this could be Messi’s final World Cup appearance after he stated in October that this would be “the last one.”
He helped Argentina reach the 2014 World Cup final, where they were defeated by Germany. This was followed by back-to-back Copa America final defeats to Chile, the second of which caused Messi to temporarily retire from international football.
“Perhaps they would have criticised me again if we had lost another final to Brazil [in 2021],” Messi said of his critics in Argentina. “Now we’ve made it so that it’s not just about winning or losing in Argentina.”
“Journalism and people in general have changed their perspectives a little.” They also consider the journey.”
Messi discussed working under Pep Guardiola during a wide-ranging interview with Jorge Valdano, who was a member of Argentina’s World Cup-winning team in 1986. He did not, however, speak about his future, despite the fact that his contract with Paris Saint-Germain is set to expire at the end of the season.
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“It was an extraordinary era,” Messi said of his four years under Guardiola, who is now the manager of Manchester City. “Everything fell into place. Guardiola came in and taught us how to play, and we had a unique group of players.
“It was incredible going into games knowing we’d beat whoever we were up against.” There were still defeats, painful defeats, but we had that confidence.
“I regret not having taken more advantage of that era.” I regret not taking more pleasure in the day-to-day, the training, and how Guardiola prepared for games. It’s all there. We were completely unaware of what we were doing because it felt so natural.
“With time, you realize it was one-of-a-kind.” In that sense, Guardiola harmed football because everyone wanted to imitate us. Since then, I’ve seen a lot of Guardiolas, and you realize what we did.
“He is without a doubt [the best coach I have ever had].” He has a unique perspective on games, how he prepares for games, and how he communicates.”