Argentina captain, Lionel Messi, and coach Lionel Scaloni say Brazil didn’t win their Copa America semi-final match fair and square, and that a better team has been unfairly denied a place in the final.
Messi was furious after the match at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte early Wednesday morning (Nigerian time) and blamed the centre referee, Roddy Zambrano from Ecuador, for not awarding Argentina two deserved penalties when Nicolas Otamendi was blatantly fouled by Arthur and when Sergio Aguero was felled by Dani Alves inside the box.
Messi was appalled at the VAR not asking the centre referee to look at those critical incidents of the match.
Argentina dominated the game and aside from the two penalty appeals, hit the woodwork twice, first by Messi and then Aguero.
Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino scored for Brazil in the 19th and 71st minute respectively.
“They (the officials)had booked a lot of ‘bulls’, but they didn’t even check the VAR, that’s incredible,” a disconsolate Messi said during the post-match conference.
“That happened all over the game. At the first glance of contact, they ruled in their (Brazil’s) favour and this kind of ‘bulls’ 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.”
“If I have to help from somewhere, I’m going to do it. I felt very good with this group.”
La Albiceleste coach Lionel Scaloni was equally dismayed at the way the top of the bill clash turned out in favour of their archrival Brazil.
“On merit, the team that should have gone to the final was Argentina,” Scaloni told reporter
at the post-match conference.
“We were superior to Brazil.
We showed that this group of players feel the shirt like nobody.
“We leave an image for the future of this national team and a very good way forward.
On about his future as Argentina coach following the semi-final feat at the 2019 Copa America,
Scaloni said it not the right time to discuss it.
“I don’t think it’s time to talk about it, because that’s the least of my worries right now. I want to be with my players and share this hard moment,” Scaloni stated.