Lionel Messi calls on Argentina to bounce back from defeat to Colombia

Arnold Nichols
June 20, 2019

Goals from Roger Martínez and Duván Zapata handed Messi and co. a 2-0 defeat in their opening game, meaning they now face an uphill task to win the trophy.

Saturday's defeat also ended Argentina's 12-year unbeaten streak against Colombia, and marked its first Copa America defeat in regulation since 2007.

"We allowed them to take the initiative in the first half, we were too far from their area", Messi said.

"There is no time to complain, we have to look ahead, we have to raise our heads and continue, there's still a lot of the tournament left".

Argentina's journey in the group stage will end against Qatar in Porto Alegre on June 23, a day before Messi turns 32 years old.

"We have to think about getting up fast".

To make it even harder for Argentina, the Paraguayan defence is likely to be boosted by the return of Palmeiras defender Gustavo Gomez, who was suspended for the first match against Qatar.

Midfielder Leandro Paredes, who forced a diving save out of Ospina with one long range strike and sent a second whistling past the post, was pleased with the second half performance.

"The most important thing is not just the results but how you get them, it's important that the fans can identify themselves with the team and like the way we play", he added.

"I came on and helped my team. Then, when we were playing at our best, they scored on the counterattack".

"In the first half, we retreated a little and were holding on but, in the second, we really opened up", said Messi.

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Manager Lionel Scaloni will most likely stick with that attack against Paraguay, although Juventus forward Paulo Dybala is waiting in the wings should he seek alternatives.

There were rumors that Real had vetoed his participation in the final for fear he would aggravate his thigh injury and scupper the Spanish giants' plans to sell him - he would join Manchester United that summer - in order to replace him with Colombia's James Rodriguez, one of Argentina's chief tormentors on Saturday.

Maradona watched his fellow countrymen crash to a 2-0 defeat, as two goals in the final 19 minutes of the match sealed an opening match defeat in Group B of the tournament.

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