Diego Maradona warned Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli that he would not be welcomed back home unless he changes his tactics.
Argentina took the lead through Sergio Aguero in the 19th minute on Saturday as a cigar-puffing Maradona looked on from the stands of the Spartak Stadium.
Messi, whose performances in FIFA World Cups are arguably the only blot on an other-worldly career, spurned a chance to take the lead when his 63rd-minute spot kick was saved by Hannes Halldorsson.
But Maradona avoided criticising his heir apparent and instead pointed the finger at Sampaoli.
"I don't blame the players. I could blame the lack of work rate. But I can't blame the players, much less Messi, who gave it all he had," he said.
"I missed five penalties on the spin and I was still Diego Armando Maradona. I don't think that they dropped two points because Messi missed a penalty," added Maradona, who led Argentina to the quarter-finals in South Africa in 2010.