Argentina skipper Lionel Messi has admitted the Super Eagles made them suffer in their nervy 2-1 win in Tuesday’s Group D Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup clash.
Messi gave Argentina the lead early in the first half before Victor Moses drew the Super Eagles level.
But with four minutes left Marcos Rojo scored the winner to take Argentina through to the round of 16.
“We suffered a lot,” Messi said on FIFA.com.
“There was a lot at stake. It was a huge relief, a relief for all of us. We didn’t think we would suffer this much.”
And ahead of their round of 16 clash against France, Messi said they will be prepared for a tough game.
“We have watched every single France game. We follow every game. France is a very good team with skilled individual players. They have very fast players who can really make a difference. I know what we will have to do. It will be a very tough game, no doubt.”
Super Eagles manager Rohr Gernot insists his side were unlucky to have bowed out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Lionel Messi scored a superb first-half opener in the 14th minute which was cancelled out by a penalty by Victor Moses six minutes into the second half.
Marcos Rojo scored an 86th-minute winner to send Rohr’s men packing from the competition.
“It was a little bit down to luck and we didn’t have it today,” Rohr said in his post-match interview.
“We did so well. We had the problem of having one day less than Argentina to prepare. Perhaps, at the end of the match, that was dangerous.”
He also admitted that he erred in starting an unfit Kelechi Iheanacho.
“Everybody did well. The goal was coming. When I see what happened in the first half, perhaps I wouldn’t start with the same team because Iheanacho wasn’t fit,” Rohr explained.
On the appeal for a second penalty for his team when Marcos Rojo handled the ball, Rohr claimed that it was handball.
“I believe it was a hand. I didn’t see the video. It’s difficult for the referee to make a good interpretation of the video.”
Super Eagles’ midfielder, John Ugochukwu Ogu has hinted that the team is ready for the make or mar fixture against the Albecietes of Argentina.
Speaking shortly after the team arrived St. Petersburg, Ogu said that they had two training sessions after the victory against Iceland and everyone is in good spirit.
“The truth is that we are ready. We had two training sessions after the game against Iceland and everyone is in good spirit. We are looking forward to this game against Argentina because we know that if we win, it could change our lives as football players,” Ogu said.
Describing the Super Eagles Franco-German coach as somebody who likes to win all the time, Ogu said his words inspired the team’s change of attitude in second half against Iceland.
“I think we have a manager who is very tough. A manager who wants to win and always wants the best for the players. After the first half, he told us things that we the players felt could really help us.
“Iceland, were very physical and strong. We didn’t really do badly. But I think that we came out in the second half to play. That’s what we did and that’s what helped us to score. The manager made us believe we could do it and that’s why we did it,” Ogu said.
The Hapoel Be’er Sheva midfielder, who missed out on the 2014 World Cup is living out the dream in the ongoing 2018 World Cup, noting that it is an honour to play for Nigeria.
“For me, it’s a dream come true. I missed out at the last World Cup but today I’m here hoping I get the minutes to play. But I’m so excited to be here, representing my country in the World Cup. It’s a big achievement for me and I just want to help the country. I want to put smiles on the faces of every Nigerian through my performance on the pitch.
“I still want more. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a player that gives everything on the pitch. If I’m on the pitch, I play for the fans and the manager before playing for myself. I’m a fighter, I always want to play and I always want to win. But if I don’t get to play, I feel the manager knows what’s good for the team and we have players doing well too. So I will keep working” Ogu concluded.
The Super Eagles will have their official training inside the Saint Petersburg Stadium on Monday at 5:30pm ahead of their crucial Group D Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup clash against Argentina on Tuesday.
This was announced on the Super Eagles’ verified Twitter handle on Monday.
Before their training session, the Super Eagles official pre-match press conference also holds on Monday by 5pm.
The training session will however be open to the media for 15 minutes.
“Our official pre match press conference, ahead of Tuesday’s game vs #ARG holds at 5pm today. Our official training, which is open for 15 minutes filming, begins immediately after, at 5.30pm. Venue: St Petersburg Stadium,” the Super Eagles handle stated.
The Super Eagles must avoid defeat against Argentina and hope Iceland does not get a favourable result against Croatia which will also be played on Tuesday.
Croatia lead the group on six points and have already qualified for the round of 16, the Super Eagles are second on three points, Iceland and Argentina who both have one point, are third and fourth respectively.
“We lacked creativity around Messi in the 18 yard box: the transition from back to front is too slow sometimes. Against Croatia we switched to three at the back; new players, new formations. The manager doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
Argentina captain Lionel Messi has vowed to win the World Cup before he retires from football.
Messi, who clocked 31 on Sunday, was quoted in the Mirror as saying: “It means so much because for Argentina the World Cup is special – and for me too.
“I’ve always had the dream of watching me raise the World Cup. And then seeing the emotion that goes with it.
“My hair stands on end just thinking about that moment. It would make millions of Argentine’s in the world happy.
“So we cannot give up on that dream.
“I have won all the most important tournaments but I am ambitious to the end. I would not like to retire from active football without being a world champion with my country.”
Messi and his Argentina teammates face elimination from the Russia 2018 World Cup on Tuesday as any result other than victory against the Super Eagles will send the Brazil 2014 finalists packing.
Former Super Eagles captain Nwankwo Kanu has backed the team to beat Argentina in their final Group D game in Saint Petersburg at the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday.
Gernot Rohr’s men sit in second position in Group D with three points following their 2-0 win against Iceland on Friday.
Argentina occupy last place with one point after they were thrashed 3-0 by Croatia on Thursday.
A win against the South Americans will send the Super Eagles into the second round while a draw will be enough depending on the outcome of the game between Croatia and Iceland.
“Nigeria 🇳🇬 vs Argentina 🇦🇷 KAN U BELIEVE?YES WE KAN and KAN WE DO IT?YES WE KAN HAHAHAHAHA Up Super Eagles.MARADONA believed and papilo believed 🙏🙏🙏💪💪💪🙌🙌 #supereagles #positivevibes #believe #wecandoit @thenffofficial #hardwork #nigeria #africa #thankgod,”reads a tweet on his Twitter handle.
Deadly Ahmed Musa struck two stunning goals to sink Iceland 2-0 on Friday and then promised to do the same to Lionel Messi’s Argentina in Tuesday’s Group D showdown.
The Leicester City striker, currently on loan at CSKA Moscow, became the first Nigerian to score at two World Cups as the Super Eagles secured a crucial win over Iceland, who missed a penalty.
He scored both goals in Nigeria’s group stage 3-2 defeat to Argentina in Porto Alegre, Brazil, four years ago and is relishing the chance to do it again.
But this time he hopes it will knock out the South Americans.
“I think scoring against Argentina isn’t that difficult for me,” he smiled after his man-of-the-match performance in Volgograd. “We know the importance of the game. It’s do-or-die.”
The African side will secure a spot in the knockout stage alongside Croatia if they beat Argentina.
A draw would be enough to eliminate the Argentines but would leave Nigeria’s fate resting on the outcome of Iceland’s game against Croatia which kicks off at the same time.
Musa also scored twice for Leicester in a 4-2 pre-season friendly defeat against Messi-inspired Barcelona two years ago and said he always scores when up against the Argentine superstar.
“I can remember four years ago when Messi played in Brazil I scored two goals,” he recalled.
“And when I transferred to Leicester I played against Barcelona and he’s on the pitch and I scored another two goals.
“So I think next game anything can happen — possibly I’m going to score another two goals,” he laughed.