We have to improve — Messi charges Argentina after hard-fought win vs 'great' Ecuador

Lionel Messi has scored eight goals in his last eight matches for Argentina. (Photo Credit: FIFA/X and Pulse Sports collage)

We have to improve — Messi charges Argentina after hard-fought win vs 'great' Ecuador

Izuchukwu Akawor 09:30 - 08.09.2023

Lionel Messi believes every team wants to beat Argentina as World Champions after a narrow win against Ecuador in the FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Lionel Messi says Argentina cannot relax now after Ecuador pushed the world champions to the wall in their FIFA World Cup qualifier. 

Messi was the hero as Argentina defeated Ecuador 1-0 in Buenos Aires on Friday morning. 

It was the start of what is expected to be a long road to the 2026 FIFA World Cup. 

Messi inspires Argentina

The 36-year-old was on the pitch for 89 minutes as Argentina dominated the encounter from start to finish. 

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has scored in his last eight matches for Argentina. (Photo Credit: FIFAWorldcup/X)

Argentina, who are the current holders of the FIFA World Cup title, had 71 per cent of the ball and created some nice chances.

But despite the dominance with their inspirational captain Messi running the show, the South American giants initially found Ecuador a hard nut to crack.

With 12 minutes to left to play, however, that man, Messi, came to the rescue again.

Argentina was awarded a free kick in a good and dangerous area and the Inter Miami playmaker stepped up to do what he does best. 

Lionel Messi in full flight for Argentina . (Photo Credit: Imago)

It was a free kick that left the Ecuadorian goalkeeper rooted to the spot and proved to be the decisive difference as Argentina got off to a winning start.

Argentina must not relax

After the game, Messi spoke to the media where he said that Ecuador gave the champions problems.

Lionel Messi celebrating Argentina's World Cup win
Lionel Messi says Argentina is now everyone's target because they are World Champions. (Photo Credit: Imago)

He added that Argentina remains focused on making it to the next world but must improve as every team wants to beat them.

 "We played against a great team, with good players and physically strong," Messi said as per ABC News. "Everyone always wants to beat Argentina and even more so now that we are the world champions. 

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“We can't relax, we have to improve on what we've been doing. "The objective is to qualify for the World Cup again. We really enjoyed what we did but we have to look ahead."

The win ensured Argentina remains unbeaten, with the run now extended to 22 matches across competitions. 

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