Lionel Messi is regarded by many as the best footballer in the world and this belief is shared by several members of the Super Eagles’ squad. Messi and his Argentine teammates stand in the way of a second round ticket for Nigeria. The Super Eagles play Argentina in the last Group D fixture of the 2018 World Cup tonight.
Speaking with newsmen as part of the media build up to the game, Super Eagles defender, Bryan Idowu expressed his admiration for the Barcelona talisman. He said “We hope this is Messi’s last game at the 2018 FIFA World Cup because as much as we enjoy him as a player, it’s our only chance to go through.”
Nigeria sit in second place on the group D log with three points and a draw may prove to be just enough for the Africans. A point would suffice if Croatia avoids defeat at the hands of Iceland in the other group game. A win for Argentina would secure passage to the knockout stages for the South Americans making it a must win games for both teams.
The Argentina camp is said to be in turmoil as the players have staged a mutiny against manager, Jorge Sampaoli. Lionel Messi has under performed since the beginning of the World Cup; he lost a penalty against Iceland and did not influence the second game against Croatia. it has been reported that the players have urged the manager to change his tactics and methods so that the south Americans can revive their campaign.
Idowu, who may be tasked with stopping Messi disclosed that he could care less about the strategy Sampaoli would employ. “What is going on with Argentina doesn’t interest me, it’s only important how they play tomorrow. We are focusing on ourselves, because we’re training hard,” he said.
The hero of the Iceland game, Ahmed Musa also declared his interest in seeking revenge against Messi and Argentina for beating Nigeria at the last World Cup in Brazil. Musa scored a brace in that game to cancel out a brace scored by Messi but a winner by Marcos Rojo ensured all three points for Argentina that day.
In the same vein, the Super Eagles team coach, Gernot Rohr has disclosed that the team would not be distracted by Messi but would be focusing on their game and the job at hand. “We adore Messi, I adore him. But we want to qualify, we’re not here to watch him play,” explained the coach. “In football there is no pity and we will not gift anything to Messi.”
“I cannot give away exactly how we will play, but you will see a combative team, a hard battle against Argentina. We need to win. Maybe a draw could serve us but it’s not certain. We want to win; it could be a spectacular football game,” Rohr said.