It was just a scare. Argentina qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ following a traumatic campaign in which no one suffered more than Lionel Messi.
The undisputed leader of the side and their mainstay throughout the preliminaries, only Messi knew where his international future would have lain had his side not made it to Russia.
In the end, Argentina landed in Group D with Iceland ("might seem easy, but they are tough and well organised"), Croatia ("they give you more room to play but have great players") and Nigeria ("one day they score four goals, the next one, they leave plenty of space for you to do anything").
Secure in the knowledge that he had done his job in guiding his nation to the finals, the Argentina captain spoke to FIFA.com about La Albiceleste’s qualifying travails, his decisive contribution in the final match against Ecuador, how he sees the team evolving and the debt the game owes him.
No one suffered more on Argentina’s traumatic journey to Russia 2018 than Lionel Messi, the leader and mainstay of the side during the preliminaries. Secure in the knowledge of having done his job, the Argentina captain spoke to FIFA.com about La Albiceleste’s travails, his decisive contribution in the final match, how he sees the team evolving and the debt the game owes him.
Missing out on the World Cup would have been a really big blow for us, the team, and for me personally.
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