Ochoa ready for the challenge of ‘magic’ Messi as Mexico goalkeeper prepares to face Argentina

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa says he is looking forward to the challenge of facing “magic” Lionel Messi and trying to stun Argentina.

  • Albiceleste lost their first game to Saudi Arabia
  • El Tri took a point from the 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 seeks 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.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

Lionel Messi Argentina Saudi Arabia World Cup 2022GettyGuillermo Ochoa, Mexico x Polonia, Copa do Mundo 22112022Pressbox/Getty

WHAT NEXT? An intriguing group is still wide open heading into matchday two, but Messi and co. know they cannot afford any more Mistakes if they are to start building momentum and edge their way into the last 16.

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