Argentina’s Lionel Messi out of World Cup qualifier vs Venezuela due to groin injury

Lionel Messi’s triumphant Argentina comeback has been tempered by a groin injury that has forced his withdrawal from Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in Venezuela.

Messi, who had gone back on his decision to quit the team following their Copa America final defeat in June, scored the only goal in a 1-0 home win over Uruguay on Thursday that sent Argentina to the top of the South American group.

However, the Argentina captain will not travel with the team to Merida where they face Venezuela in another round of regional qualifiers, coach Edgardo Bauza said on Friday.

"He won't be able to play, he has inflammation and still feels pain, we can't take risks," Bauza told reporters after training at the Argentine FA headquarters outside Buenos Aires.

Lionel Messi celebrates his goal. AP

Lionel Messi celebrates his goal. AP

The AFA confirmed the decision, announcing on its website that it had been taken after tests on Messi's groin in the morning.

"He has been told to rest and won't play against Venezuela," it said, with media reporting that Messi would fly directly back to his club Barcelona at the weekend.

The decision was easier for Argentina to take before they face the weakest team in the group having bagged three points in Tuesday's win in Mendoza, where they played a man short for half the match after Paulo Dybala was sent off.

Important Matches

“My groin is hurting a lot, from before this match,” Messi told reporters after the win. “I always want to be (in the team)... but there are also a lot of important matches coming up (for club and country).”

Messi explained why he had said he was retiring from international football after Argentina’s loss to Chile in New Jersey in which he missed their first penalty in a shootout.

“I didn’t deceive anyone in that moment,” he said. “I was very disappointed because it was a hard blow and I said that because that’s what I felt.

“But afterwards, seeing what this group (of players) is like, and with the affection of the fans, I reconsidered.”

It was Messi’s third defeat in a major final with Argentina in two years, including the 2014 World Cup final against Germany in Brazil, and fourth altogether.

Messi is now back gunning for a fourth World Cup appearance in Russia in 2018 with Argentina heading the 10-nation group with 14 points from seven matches.

The top four qualify for the tournament while the fifth-placed team goes into an inter-continental playoff for another place in the finals.

Updated Date: Sep 03, 2016 12:44 PM

Also Watch

Watch: Firstpost test rides the new Thunderbird 500X in Goa and walks you through the Royal Enfield Garage Cafe
  • Tuesday, April 17, 2018 Varun Dhawan on Shoojit Sircar's October, 5-star reviews and working with Anushka Sharma in Sui Dhaaga
  • Saturday, April 14, 2018 Ambedkar Jayanti: Re-visiting Babasaheb's ideals exposes fake Dalit politics of Rahul Gandhi and Congress
  • Monday, April 9, 2018 48 hours with Huawei P20 Pro: Triple camera offering is set to redefine smartphone imaging
  • Monday, April 16, 2018 Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore interview: Sports can't be anyone's fiefdom, we need an ecosystem to nurture raw talent

Also See