Messi: “Another Copa begins” for Argentina
Relieved after Argentina’s struggling qualification for the Copa America quarter-finals, Lionel Messi said on Sunday that his team was preparing to play in a completely different tournament after a 2-0 win over Qatar.
“Another Copa begins. This victory must make us stronger so that we can continue to improve,” said the Barcelona FC star in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
“The important thing was to win. It will boost us for the future,” added “La Pulga”, who could calmly celebrate his 32nd birthday on Monday.
The Albiceleste were under pressure after only taking a point after their first two matches, losing to Colombia (2-0) and drawing with Paraguay (1-1).
Argentina will be among the quarter-finalists of the Copa America. Despite a missed start to the competition (only one point from the first two matches), the Albiceleste managed to make it through to the group stage. Messi and his team-mates had to beat Qatar in their third outing. However, it was not a relaxing Sunday in Porto Alegre.
Against the Asian champions, the Argentinians showed themselves to be more solid than in their initial performances, but once again it was very rough. Despite the presence of three strikers at the start in a 4-3-3-3 pattern, they had to wait to pack the game and make more attempts on Qatari goals. And Lautaro Martinez’s quick opener did not really set them free.
“It’s hard to play with the obligation to win and the fear of elimination, but we did the right thing,” he concluded.
Forward Sergio Aguero, who has regained his starting place and scored the second goal in Argentina, praised coach Lionel Scaloni’s choice to field him alongside another top striker, Lautaro Martinez (who scored the first goal), with Messi in support.
“I was happy to be in the starting line-up and we got along well with three of us,” said the Manchester City striker.
Aguero also said that Venezuela, whom Argentina will face on Friday in the quarter-finals, is a “difficult opponent, who plays well in the counterattack”.