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Messi: ‘Argentina Continues to Make History’

by Jeff Carlisle
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Forward Lionel Messi expressed pride after Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Brazil in the World Cup 2026 qualifiers on the morning of November 22.

“This team continues to make history,” Messi told TyC Sports after the match at Maracan√£. “It may not be one of the most important achievements, but winning in Brazil is always fantastic because history shows their strength. We also needed to bounce back after the loss to Uruguay.”

Messi also acknowledged that Argentina had a challenging game, anticipating the opponents committing many fouls and comparing it to the Copa America 2021 final, where Argentina also won 1-0 on Brazilian soil. According to Messi, it was challenging to control the ball against Brazil’s aggressive playing style, but the details determined the match, and he felt fortunate when Nicolas Otamendi scored the decisive goal.

Before the match, fans of both teams clashed in the stands. Later, Messi and his teammates approached to protest against the strong-handed approach of Brazilian police towards Argentine fans. Afterward, the Argentine team went into the dressing room. Messi believed it was a way to calm things down and allow the team to understand what happened.

“We saw how they attacked people,” Messi added. “Everything unfolded as it did in the previous Copa Libertadores final. They used batons to attack Argentine fans. Family members and relatives of the players were also there. Players will be more concerned about their loved ones than the match when that happens.”

Messi also mentioned feeling discomfort in his thigh. However, after the last match in 2023, he is relieved to have time to recover and prepare for the next year. Messi will start the new season in February 2024 with the Inter Miami club.

In the match on November 22, Brazil committed 30 fouls and received three yellow cards and one direct red card. The frequent fouls disrupted the game’s flow and made it difficult for players to control the ball. Nicolas Otamendi scored the only goal with a header from a corner kick in the 63rd minute. Messi played until the 78th minute before making way for Angel Di Maria.

This result made Argentina regain the lead in the South American qualifying round with 15 points. Uruguay is in second place with 13 points, while Colombia is third with 12 points. Brazil remains in sixth place with seven points but is only two points ahead of Paraguay and Chile.

The South American qualifying round consists of 10 teams playing a double round-robin. The top six teams will secure a spot in the 2026 World Cup finals. The seventh-placed team will have to compete for a spot against representatives from another continent.

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