‘Football owed Messi World Cup’

first_imgLionel Messi Football owed hat-trick hero Messi the World Cup, says Argentina boss Sampaoli Sacha Pisani Last updated 2 years ago 14:22 10/11/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(5) Lionel Messi Argentina Getty Images Lionel Messi Argentina Ecuador v Argentina Ecuador WC Qualification South America World Cup The Albiceleste coach was full of praise for the Barcelona superstar after he fired his country to next year’s tournament in Russia Jorge Sampaoli said Lionel Messi did not owe the World Cup to Argentina, football owed it to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner after he led the South American giants to Russia 2018.Messi was Argentina’s saviour on Tuesday, his stunning hat-trick securing a 3-1 victory over Ecuador and World Cup qualification, after Sampaoli’s men had started the day outside of the CONMEBOL qualifying spots in sixth position.Argentina 17/2 to win WC Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. Following three consecutive draws, two-time champions Argentina were in danger of missing the World Cup for the first time since 1970, but captain Messi singlehandedly booked the country’s ticket to Russia next year as they finished third.”Football owed Messi the World Cup,” Sampaoli said afterwards.”I told the group: Messi did not owe the World Cup to Argentina, but football owed the World Cup to Messi.Lionel Messi Argentina“We should help him to be in a new World Cup. I was very excited to be in a squad with him.”The threat of failure loomed large for Argentina, who conceded after just 38 seconds at altitude in Quito – the fastest World Cup qualifying goal conceded by the visitors.But Messi took centre stage from that point, scoring twice before half-time to keep Argentina’s hopes alive.After combining with Angel Di Maria for the equaliser and netting a thunderous strike to become the first player in South American qualifying to score 20 goals, Messi completed his hat-trick with a glorious chip just past the hour-mark.Sampaoli added: “Argentina took a big step. I hope that with the preparation time we have, we can be competitive as we were today.”last_img