Ochoa ready for the challenge of ‘magic’ Messi as Mexico goalkeeper prepares to face Argentina
- Albiceleste lost their first game to Saudi Arabia
- El Tri took a point from stalemate with Poland
- Plenty riding on next fixtures in Group C
WHAT HAPPENED? The Albiceleste suffered a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia in their opening game at the 2022 World Cup, meaning that their next Group C outing on Saturday has taken on greater importance. Messi has already been among the goals in Qatar, and needs to provide further inspiration for his country, but veteran shot-stopper Ochoa will be among those blocking his path when Mexico seek to nudge the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner towards a stunning early exit at what could be his last major finals.
WHAT THEY SAID: Ochoa, who is taking part in his fifth World Cup, has said of facing an all-time great and a team tipped by many to challenge for ultimate glory in the Middle East: “We are ready to compete and stand up. Messi has that magic, he can do nothing and from one minute to the next he can solve things and score a goal. It’s going to be a nice challenge. It’s going to be very complicated, but what better stage than a World Cup against one of the best players in the world and history, Messi, if not the best. I don’t like the, ‘hey, I don’t want to play against such and such because it’s too difficult’. On the contrary, I want to play against them in a World Cup. I want to play a good game and beat them.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Argentina came unstuck in their first game in Qatar, Mexico battled their way to a point in a goalless draw with Poland – as Ochoa saved a penalty from Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski.