Argentina look to Messi to salvage World Cup bid
Published : Saturday, 26 November, 2022 at 9:18 AM Count : 514
Argentina will seek to save their World Cup skins in Qatar on Saturday when Lionel Messi and his teammates face Mexico in a match they cannot afford to lose.
A stunning 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia has left Argentina, who arrived in Doha on a 36-match unbeaten run and as one of the overall favourites, in a precarious position.
The Argentines said they will draw on memories of superstar Diego Maradona, their 1986 World Cup-winning captain who died two years ago this week, to inspire them against the Mexicans.
"We keep him in mind. He was a very important person in world football, and not just for us Argentines," said Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez.
"Today is a sad day for everyone and hopefully tomorrow we can give happiness."
The Argentines know they cannot afford a repeat of their opening match in Group C.
"It was difficult but we're a united group, a strong group that knows what we want, we know about our opponents, we've already overcome many things," said Martinez, who twice had a goal ruled out for offside against the Saudis.
The surprising Saudis have a chance to prove they are no flash in the pan when they face Poland and Robert Lewandowski, the prolific striker who is still looking for the first World Cup goal of his career.
The Barcelona forward missed a penalty in the goalless draw against Mexico.
In other games on Saturday, defending champions France could book their place in the last 16 if they beat Denmark at Stadium 974, which incorporates shipping containers in its design.
The French lost defender Lucas Hernandez to injury in their opening 4-1 win against Australia, adding to a list of absences headed by Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema who limped out of the World Cup before a ball was kicked.
Australia face another rough ride against a robust Tunisian side.