News ID: 255228
Published: 0206 GMT July 03, 2019

Messi vows to play on after latest Argentina heartache

Messi vows to play on after latest Argentina heartache
LUIS ACOSTA/AFP
Argentina’s Lionel Messi takes a free-kick against Brazil during a 2019 Copa America semifinal match at Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on July 2, 2019.

Lionel Messi vowed to extend his international career after yet another bid to win a major title with Argentina ended in failure at the Copa America on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Barcelona star, who infamously quit international football after Argentina's defeat in the 2016 Copa America Centenario final, said he had no plans to hang up his boots after a 2-0 semifinal loss to Brazil, AFP reported.

"If I can still help in any way, I will continue to do so. I feel really good in this group," said the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"This is a good, talented generation who showed that they love the national team," he added.

"They have a future and great foundations, they just need to be given time."

Messi will get another chance to break his tournament duck next year when the Copa America takes place in Argentina and Colombia, with the 2022 World Cup looming further on the horizon.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said the defeat was "unfair" claiming that "no other team has created as many goalscoring chances against Brazil as we did."

Messi's best chance came on 57 minutes when he volleyed against the post.

Scaloni said the veteran was Argentina's "standard-bearer."

"Brazil was continuously trying to stop passes from reaching him and we kept looking for ways to get him the ball," Scaloni said.

"It was thrilling to see him play. It didn't work out today but he'll have his rematch and the whole squad will have its rematch."

Scaloni was unhappy with some of Ecuadoran referee Roddy Zambrano's decisions, not least the fact that Argentina picked up six bookings to Brazil's two.

"I didn't like the referee, I don't usually make those comments," he said.

"I don't think he was qualified for a match of this level."

He added, "If a midfielder player is on a yellow card this changes things. There were a lot of small details where the match started to lose its balance because of those decisions."

 

Penalty appeals

 

Messi and teammate Sergio Aguero, meanwhile, lashed out at the officiating after the defeat to Brazil and questioned why video technology was not consulted in two penalty appeals that were waved away.

The video assistant referee (VAR) system has been used heavily at the tournament, to such an extent that organizers CONMEBOL had to defend its use with fans complaining about lengthy stoppages, Reuters reported.

On Tuesday, however, VAR was conspicuous by its absence and Messi, who is not known for verbal outbursts, was furious that it was not used.

“Referees gave so many stupid fouls in this Copa America but today VAR wasn’t consulted once,” he told reporters.

“This should be looked into and I hope CONMEBOL do something with these referees who unbalance the pitch by favoring a team.

“The truth is we’re angry because we played very well, we put in a huge effort and for it to end like this makes us sad.”

Messi said the referee had shown Argentina no respect.

“I spoke to the referee and he said he would respect us that he would look after us but at no moment did I see that.”

Aguero appeared to be tripped by Dani Alves in the second half but no foul was given and Brazil immediately launched a counterattack which saw Roberto Firmino double the host’s advantage.

Argentina defender Juan Foyth was so stunned that a foul was not given that he did not rush back to halt a run by Gabriel Jesus which led to the goal.

Later in the game, defender Nicolas Otamendi went to the ground after tangling with Brazil’s Arthur at a corner, but Argentina’s appeals again proved futile.

“They told us that VAR would be like a fifth referee but when things turn out like this I’d rather it wasn’t there,” said Aguero.

“I was running into the area and Alves stopped me with his foot, it was clear, so clear that Foyth stopped and waited for it to be given.”

 

   
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