This list could've been one country shorter...

The 14 international teams Lionel Messi has failed to score against for Argentina

Lionel Messi is quite good at scoring goals, if you didn’t already know. For both club and country, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner has proven consistently lethal in the final third.

Everybody knows all about his superhuman exploits at club level, but his achievements for Argentina have long gone under the radar and even now are overlooked due to the fact he finished the story and lifted the World Cup in 2022.

With 106 goals from 180 caps and counting, very few countries have been able to stop Messi when he comes up against them. As of right now, there are 14 nations who he’s been unable to score against; read on to find out who.

For context, we’ve only considered nations who Messi has actually played a game against, so don’t come at us telling us about how ‘Pessi’ is a fraud because he’s not tucked one away against Kiribati or the Principality of Sealand.


Messi’s senior international debut against Hungary in 2005 remains a memorable one, but for the wrong reasons.

He was sent off just 30 seconds into his debut, retaliating after a heavy challenge and receiving a straight red card for his troubles. He’s not been able to avenge it since.


Having played Qatar at both ends of his international career, Messi has been on the winning side twice, but never managed to bag against the nation.

He managed an assist in a friendly win in 2005 and captained La Albiceleste to a 2-0 win over Qatar in 2019 at the Copa America (no, really) but didn’t manage a goal in either game.


Another case of one and done – you’re going to hear this a lot – Messi failed to score against Angola in a pre-2006 World Cup friendly, during a 22-minute cameo.


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Not only has Messi failed to score against Norway, he’s never actually beaten them at all.

Moscow, Russia. 16th June, 2018. Lionel Messi of Argentina reacts during a group D match between Argentina and Iceland at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow, Russia, June 16, 2018.

READ: The 5 international teams that Lionel Messi hasn’t won against

South Korea

It’s not often that Argentina and South Korea butt heads. They’ve only ever actually crossed paths on three occasions in their history and the only game Messi was a part of was at the 2010 World Cup.

He played 90 minutes as La Albiceleste ran out comfortable 4-1 winners, but was unable to weigh in with a goal of his own.


Argentina have played against Greece even fewer times. The two occasions where the two nations have faced off have both been at the World Cup, with Argentina winning 4-0 in 1994 and 2-0 in 2010, where Messi played and wore the captain’s armband.

Republic of Ireland

The last time Argentina faced the Republic of Ireland and the only time they have in the 21st Century was in an international friendly following the 2010 World Cup.

Messi played, but it was a goal from Angel Di Maria that secured the win.

Costa Rica

Rather bizarrely considering their close proximity, Argentina and Costa Rica don’t do battle all that often. They’ve clashed four times since 2010 with Argentina winning every single game.

Messi, however, has only featured in one of those games, a group stage game at the 2011 Copa America where he provided two assists, but didn’t manage to score.

The top scorers in Copa America history

READ: Where does Lionel Messi rank in the top 10 goalscorers in Copa America history?


Again not a country Argentina meet often on the football stage, Messi’s one and only game against Sweden ended in victory – just about – but he was unable to find a goal.

Argentina beat them 3-2 in a friendly in 2013 at the Friends Arena, thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and an own-goal from Mikael Lustig.

Trinidad and Tobago

The Soca Warriors were comfortably beaten in a pre-2014 World Cup friendly by Argentina with Messi registering an assist and captaining the side.

Again, given their relatively close proximity, it’s a surprise to learn they’ve only played each other once.


The two countries have only clashed once in the 21st Century, butting heads at the 2014 World Cup, both desperate to live up to endless expectations and win football’s most illustrious prize. And both failed to do so.

Oh well. Higuain’s goal separated the two sides on the day, as Argentina sent Belgium’s Golden Generation crashing out of Brazil and back to Europe.


Another one and done – we did warn you – Messi was captain as Argentina travelled to Moscow in November 2017 and beat Russia narrowly.

Aguero’s header four minutes from full-time was the only goal that separated the two sides.


Not a loss, but a draw. And an avoidable one at that.

Messi missed a penalty as Argentina slumped to a draw and failed to win their opening match at the 2018 World Cup, the first time they’d done so since losing to Cameroon in 1990.

Interestingly, the penalty that Messi saw saved just eight minutes into the game was also the first one he’d taken at a World Cup – excluding shootouts.


Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez were on the scoresheet in Qatar as La Albiceleste booked their spot in the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup, after overcoming a shaky start to their group-stage campaign against Saudi Arabia.

Messi failed to score, but considering how the rest of the tournament panned out, we don’t think he’s dwelling on this one all too much.