FIFA World Cup 2018: 'Hurts me to have missed the penalty,' says Lionel Messi

17 June 2018, 04:59 PM
FIFA World Cup 2018: 'Hurts me to have missed the penalty,' says Lionel Messi
FIFA World Cup 2018: 'Hurts me to have missed the penalty,' says Lionel Messi

Argentine icon Lionel Messi on Saturday missed the fourth penalty in his last seven attempts for both club Barcelona and country, haunting him with memories of his effort in the 2016 Copa America final against Chile.

Two years back, Messi had announced his retirement from international football after missing a penalty in the Copa America final that eventually cost them the title.

However, after requests from the entire nation, the Barcelona forward reconsidered his decision and returned to don the white and blue.

On Saturday, in Argentina’s FIFA World Cup 2018 opener against Iceland, the five time Ballon d’Or winner went through the nightmare once again, the only saving grace in it was that it was just a group match, and not a final.

"It would have changed the script. It was the advantage," Messi said.

"Obviously it hurts me to have missed the penalty. They would have opened a little more and we could have found more spaces.

"We have the bitterness of not being able to take the three points that we deserved. To start with winning is always important, now we have to think about Croatia.

"We will try to pass this quickly."

La Albiceleste were held by World Cup debutants Iceland in a 1-1 draw, despite having 78 per cent of possession during the course of 90 minutes.

Iceland’s defensive efforts were lauded by the whole world and their determination and grit earned them a dream point against heavyweights Argentina.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli praised Iceland’s defensive efforts and complimented Messi’s attitude after a difficult game.

"To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him," Sampaoli said.

"Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win. Leo is very committed to Argentina.

"We always come to win so that's why there is a certain amount of frustration."

Argentina and skipper Lionel Messi would want to forget this draw and focus on their next match against Croatia on 21 June.

On early hours of Sunday, Croatia won their opener against Nigeria with a scoreline of 2-0 with Real Madrid’s midfield maestro Luka Modric scoring a crucial penalty.

First Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 03:32 PM
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