Messi blasts refereeing after Argentina's Copa América defeat: "It was 'bullshit'"

Lionel Messi was furious with the refereeing during Argentina's Copa América defeat to Brazil. The Albiceleste had two penalty appeals waved away.

It was 'bulls***' – Messi blasts refereeing after Argentina's Copa America loss

An angry Lionel Messi blasted the refereeing after Argentina were denied two penalties in a Copa América semi-final defeat to Brazil. Goals from Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino saw Brazil overcome Argentina 2-0 in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday. However, Argentina hit the woodwork twice through Sergio Agüero and Messi, and twice had penalty shouts turned down.

Messi during the Copa América semi-final

No VAR after penalty appeals

Nicolas Otamendi went down under a heavy challenge from Arthur following a corner and Agüero appeared to be brought down by Dani Alves, the latter occurring just before Firmino's sealer. Messi felt Argentina deserved two spot-kicks, with the VAR – which has dominated headlines at the Copa América – not asking the referee to look at either incident.

"They were not better than us. They found the net early and the second goal came from a penalty [to Agüero] they didn't award," Messi told reporters. "They [the officials] had booked a lot of bullshit, but they didn't even check the VAR, that's incredible.That happened all over the game. At the first glance of contact, they ruled in their [Brazil's] favour and this kind of bullshit distracted us from the game. There is no excuses for us, but we need to review this, analyse it and let's hope CONMEBOL does something about it."

Messi hails Argentina's efforts

Messi, whose wait for a first senior trophy with the national team continues, praised Argentina's performance against Brazil. "I think we played a great game. We made a great effort and they were not superior to us," he said, adding, "If I have to help from somewhere, I'm going to do it. I felt very good with this group."