Argentina can bounce back from their poor start at the World Cup and reach the playoffs, according to Barcelona head coach Xavi.
Lionel Scaloni’s team suffered a shock first-half Group C loss to Saudi Arabia, with Lionel Messi’s first-half penalty offset by goals from Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari.
With Mexico and Poland playing their first match elsewhere, this has given Albicelesta a difficult but not unbelievable path past the opening stages of Qatar 2022.
But speaking for Adidas in Qatar, Xavi, who was a member of the Spain team that lost their first match in South Africa in 2010 before going to win the tournament, thinks they have what it takes to make a difference.
“I know [how it feels]because it happened to us in 2010 in South Africa,” he said, referring to his own loss to Switzerland a decade ago. “This is a very difficult moment.
“[There is] more tension, more pressure, but I think they have it all. They have the opportunity to come back, beat Mexico and beat Poland.
“I have a lot of faith in Leo, in the Argentina national team, in Scaloni. Of course, they have the opportunity to score six points and advance to the next round.”
2- Mexico has not lost to Argentina in the last two matches of the group stage of official competitions:
1:1 America’s Cup 1993
1:0 America’s Cup 2004
— OptaJorge (@OptaJorge) November 26, 2022
Argentina will be in contention to avoid their first group stage exit since Korea/Japan in 2002, the only time they failed to qualify for the playoffs in the 32-team extended format era.
On Saturday in Lusail, they will face Mexico, and on November 30 in Doha they will end their campaign in Group C against Poland.