Lionel Messi Says It Would Be 'Crazy' If Argentina Exit Copa America Early

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2019

Argentina's Lionel Messi, center, reacts at the end of Copa America Group B soccer match against Paraguay at Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

Lionel Messi expressed his frustrations with Argentina's struggles at the 2019 Copa America after the 1-1 draw against Paraguay on Wednesday. He said it would be "crazy" if he and his team-mates failed to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament. 

The Albiceleste sit in last place of Group B with just a single point after two matches, and they now have to beat Qatar to have any hope of advancing. Per ESPN FC, Messi is still confident of a positive outcome:

"Frankly, it's a little frustrating not being able to get the win we need to take the next step. We knew this would be difficult, we're still looking for the best group, for the best performance, to keep growing.

"[The squad] is hurt by the situation because we can't manage to win a game, and we know today was key for us. We know we have to win the next game to advance.

"We know we'll be playing for our lives. It would be crazy if we can't advance from the group stage, when basically three [teams] advance from each group. I have no doubt we'll do it."

The Barcelona man scored a penalty in the second half, pulling his side level after Richard Sanchez had opened the scoring in the first half. Goalkeeper Franco Armani saved a Derlis Gonzalez penalty to salvage a draw.

Colombia have already secured top spot in the group with wins over Argentina and Qatar. Paraguay are second on two points, one ahead of Qatar and Argentina. The top two teams will advance to the next round, along with the two best third-placed teams.

Sports journalist Richard Martin pointed out Group B is likely to provide one of the two best third-placed teams, but Qatar could beat Argentina to that spot:

The Albiceleste arguably looked worse in Wednesday's draw than they did in the 2-0 loss against Colombia, and Goal thought the team did not present a cohesive unit in the draw:

Newcastle's Miguel Almiron dominated the midfield pair of Paris Saint-Germain's Leandro Paredes and Real Betis' Giovani Lo Celso, and Argentina's defence never looked comfortable as a result. The back line's top player, Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi, had a nightmare outing that included giving away a penalty:

Argentina will face Qatar in their final group-stage match on Sunday. If they win, they will finish on four points.

Group A's current third-placed team, Venezuela, have two points and are expected to beat Bolivia in their final match, but in Group C, Japan and Ecuador have no points after a single match. They will face Uruguay and Chile, respectively, on Friday, before meeting in their final group-stage match on Monday.

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