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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Lionel Messi: "I feel responsible for us not bringing home the three points."

                                                Image credits:
                                        Anchor Sports and FIFA.

Lionel Messi gave his post mortem after the 1-1 draw with World Cup debutantes, Iceland, in Moscow today. Sergio Aguero scored the opener and Alfred Finnbogason countered with a historic equalizer. Messi's poorly taken spot kick was saved by Hannes Halledorrson. It was one of the Argentinean captain's 11 shots on the day in this preliminary match of Group D.

Iceland shut Messi and his teammates down with a well-organized, tenacious defense for most of the game to secure their first point in World Cup competition. It was a historic day for the Icelandic side and one to forget for la Albiceleste of Argentina. Croatia beat Nigeria, 2-0, in Kaliningrad to place themselves as group leaders.

There was one positive individual note for Argentina: Javier Mascherano became their all-time caps leader at 144 surpassing Javier Zanetti.


1. On the draw.
2. On the missed penalty itself.
3. On the effects of the missed penalty.
4. On the aftermath.

Let's see what Leo had to say.

1. On the draw:

"Two stats explain the 1-1 between Iceland and Argentina. Ball possession was abysmal (78% for Argentina) but the player who completed the most passes was Mascherano from the deep midfield. Messi, once again, didn't have a teammate up top to escape the labyrinth."

"I feel responsible for us not bringing home the three points. I was gutted after the penalty miss. But now, it has to make us stronger. It's obvious I feel responsible. Converting that penalty would have calmed us down. It was a goal that had to be made at the right time."

2. On the missed penalty itself:

"I decided right then (on where to place it). I wanted to place it at the far pole but it ended up at medium height."

3. On the effects of the missed penalty:

"If I had converted it, it would have made them open up. And that would have changed everything. We did good things and others not so well. The good thing is that we controlled the ball. We always had it and moved it around well from side to side. The bad thing is that we didn't find spaces between the lines and that also cost us trying to get through."

4. On the aftermath:

"We'll stay calm. You don't have to go crazy about it or get upset and hurt because we deserved to win the game. And those three points would have given us much more tranquility. The idea is still the same: To win the next two games. 

Now, you have to rest up well and prepare for the game versus Croatia. Which will be equally difficult as this one. We don't lack in commitment. Iceland cost us because they closed down space well and didn't give us any holes to go through. And from one shot you can create a goal-scoring chance."

Spanish source:

Clarin Deportes: Lionel Messi: "Me siento responsable por no habernos llevado los tres puntos"; 16/6/2018.

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Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator based in Washington, D.C. He is the publisher of World Football Commentaries since 2006 and published The Soccer Translator from 2008 to 2015. 

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