A tournament favourite with many pundits predicting them as winning the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, Argentina’s campaign has started on a disastrous note with a stunning 1-2 defeat to Saudi Arabia. The enormity of the result can be gauged from the fact that Wednesday has been declared a national holiday in the middle-east nation following their triumph at the Lusail Stadium.
With one of the greatest footballers Lionel Messi leading their charge, the result has left the squad dejected as was clear from their body language after the final whistle went off. Their desperation was quite evident towards the end as they haplessly searched for an equaliser which never came.
So what was the discussion in the locker room? Nothing and Messi revealed the players are ‘dead’ after the blow since this was expected to be a walk in the park for the former champions.
“The truth? Dead,” Messi said after the match. “It’s a very hard blow because we did not expect to start in this way.’ We expected to get the three points that would have given us calmness. Things happen for a reason. We have to prepare for what is coming, we have to win, and it depends on us.”
However, the squad reportedly remained inside their locker room at the stadium for nearly an hour but Messi spoke little.
Argentine daily Clarin reports that Messi, playing in all likeliness his final world cup, did speak in the team bus as they left for the National University of Qatar.
The newspaper said the 35-year-old spoke about “what this group is made of, get stronger than ever, and look ahead.”
A majority of the players, once reaching the campus, preferred to stay in their rooms, skipping snacks.
Head coach Lionel Scaloni then called a team meeting and as per Clarin, there was “an extensive talk to try to lift the spirits, especially those who have no experience in this type of competition. Most of the squad memebers are rookies in a World Cup and that is why it is necessary to support them from the mental point of view in this type of situation.”
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