Lionel Messi: Losing to Saudi Arabia helped us

Lionel Messi believes defeat to Saudi Arabia in Argentina’s opening game may have helped the Albiceleste reach the World Cup final.

Argentina suffered a shock 2-1 defeat in their first match of the tournament, but responded by beating Mexico and Poland to win Group C, then beat Australia and the Netherlands in the knockout stages.

Last night they defeated Croatia 3-0 to reach Sunday’s showpiece. Messi put them ahead from the penalty spot, then had a hand in both Julian Alvarez’s goals to earn another man of the match award and draw level with Kylian MbappĂ© in the race for the golden boot.

Lionel Messi delivered another extraordinary performance to bring Argentina within one win of their third World Cup (Image credit: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

“What I can say is I’m really enjoying this – I feel really good,” the 35-year-old told the post-game press conference. “The first game of the World Cup was a hard blow for all of us because we had been unbeaten for 36 games. We didn’t think we would lose to Saudi Arabia, so to start like that was a tough test.

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