Argentina superstar Lionel Messi claimed the penalty he missed in their World Cup victory over Poland on Wednesday night ended up galvanizing the team and were on their way to victory once Alexis McAllister broke the deadlock.
One of the pre-tournament favourites, Albiceleste was in danger of surprising elimination from the group stage before kick-off and had everything to play against Robert Lewandowski’s Poland.
When Lionel Scaloni’s team earned a penalty kick in the first half and Messi I went up, it looked as if it was going to work as usual. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was looking to score in Argentina’s seventh consecutive appearance, something he had never done before. But the Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Chesny was equal to the penalty kick and confidently kicked the ball away.
“After missing the penalty kick, the team came out even stronger,” said Messi. TyC Sports.
“The team was convinced we were going to win, it was all about the first coming. Once we scored the goal, the game was going to be played the way we wanted.”
After McAllister found the main first goal, Julian Alvarez eventually scored the second.
Neither Alvarez nor Enzo Fernandez, who assisted the second goal, started either of the first two games. However, they came to make a decisive impact. Meanwhile, McAllister had not featured in the opening defeat to Saudi Arabia, before winning the straight.
Messi went on to praise the “strength of this group” that makes this possible.
“We said it from the start. The players who come in know what they have to do and are always fully prepared. It’s the strength of this group, the union, and when a player has to respond,” the 35-year-old explained.
With the group stage now over, Argentina will face a brave Australia who qualified from a very tough Group D ahead of Denmark. That match will be played on Saturday.
“We know it will be very difficult,” Messi assessed.
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