Argentina captain Lionel Messi blasted the officiating after the team’s 2-0 loss to Brazil in the Copa America semifinals that knocked them out of the tournament.
Brazil advanced to the final over their archrivals in a feisty, physical match at Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, with goals from Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino. The hosts will face either Peru or Chile in Sunday’s final at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
While the tournament has been plagued by lengthy stoppages for the video assistant referee (VAR), Ecuadoran referee Roddy Zambrano preferred to let the game run, which incensed Argentina when VAR did not come into play on several occasions.
“[The officials] were tired of making bulls— calls at this Copa and they didn’t go to VAR. It was unbelievable,” Messi said after the loss.
“It was like that all match. It was bulls— that they were doing it all match. There is no excuse — it must be looked into. Hopefully, CONMEBOL does something about these kind of referees.
“Because we did everything to try and advance but [the officials] stacked the deck against us. I don’t believe they will do anything because Brazil controls everything, so it is very complicated. But I don’t think we should feel bad for anything. It didn’t happen and we had bad luck.”
Messi: ojalá la conmebol haga algo con este tipo de arbitrajes. pic.twitter.com/GtZ9MOT2OX
— Jony Ayala (@jonyteknon) July 3, 2019
Messi, who quit the national side after the 2016 Copa America final loss only to return for the 2018 World Cup, suggested he was still committed to the Argentina cause. The country will co-host the 2020 Copa America with Colombia, giving Messi another shot at a continental title.
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