Lionel Messi is leaving another major international tournament without a trophy for Argentina, subsequently blasting the officials for calling “a lot of bull—” and giving Brazil the calls.
Brazil scored goals in each half to defeat arch-rival Argentina, 2-0, in the 2019 Copa America semifinals on Tuesday. Messi tried to get it done on his own, but shots knocked off the crossbar and Brazil’s defense kept him contained.
In his post-match press conference, Messi insisted “they were not better than us” and blamed the referees for giving Brazil the match.
"They were not better than us. They found the net early and the second goal came from a penalty [to Aguero] they didn't award. The officiating was crazy. There were clear penalties, on Nicolas Otamendi, on Sergio Agüero.
“He [the referee] was on their side. In every divided ball or dispute, he inclined the pitch their way. It’s not an excuse, but the truth is that, in this Copa, they kept on blowing for stupid things, for handballs, penalties. But today, they didn’t even go to VAR when there were clear plays that should have been looked at.”
Messi was referring to a no-call in the box around the 71st minute — shortly before Roberto Firmino put Brazil up by two goals on the counter attack.
La jugada previa al segundo gol y el reclamado penal contra Agüero. pic.twitter.com/OpGG9zOYkx
— Gustavo Arballo (@GustArballo) July 3, 2019
The 32-year-old Messi took issue with far more than one play. He told reporters as soon as there was any contact, officials were blowing the whistle and it took his team out of the match in more than one way.
"They [the officials] had booked a lot of bull—, but they didn't even check the VAR, that's incredible.
"That happened all over the game. At the first glance of contact, they ruled in their [Brazil's] favor and this kind of bull— distracted us from the game.
"There is no excuses for us, but we need to review this, analyse it and let's hope CONMEBOL does something about it.
"I think we played a great game. We made a great effort and they were not superior to us."
Argentina had 10 more shots than Brazil (14-4) and two of the team’s shots hit the posts. A free kick by Messi in the 67th minute was nearly the equalizer.
Brazil will host the winner of Chile vs. Peru in the Copa America final on Sunday. A win would be their first Copa title since 2007.
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