- Lionel Messi has stated that he does not know much about Nigeria
- The Super Eagles and Argentina will clash in Group D's last match
- Messi was missing in the 4-2 defeat suffered at the hands of Nigeria
Argentina captain Lionel Messi has said he does not know much about the Super Eagles of Nigeria ahead of the World Cup.
Both sides are set to clash in the final match of Group D on June 29 in a match that could decide the group's supremacy.
Mikel Obi led his teammates to a 4-2 victory against the Seleccion last November and the charismatic Messi was not present in the match.
And the Argentina captain disclosed that despite scoring a brace against the West Africans in the last World Cup in Brazil he still knows little about Gernot Rohr's side.
“We don’t know so much about Nigeria but the African teams are normally compact, tough and strong. So it will be no walkover,” he said.
The attacker almost single-handedly rescued his country’s qualifying campaign to ensure they made it to the World Cup.
The Seleccion looked unlikely to qualify for a 13th consecutive World Cup finals, after the Barcelona star man initially announced his international retirement in 2016.
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Without their talisman, Argentina took just seven points from the first eight games and looked in danger of collapse.
But when the prodigal son returned they won 21 points from the next 10 matches, with Messi scoring a hat-trick in the final game against Ecuador.
And Lionel Messi is adamant the squad is strong enough to be one of the favourites.
“It’s true that the qualifying phase was complicated for us because we took too long to do it,” he said.
“But the important thing is that we are here in this World Cup and that we give everything to achieve as much as we can.
“If Argentina goes out there and plays as we know we can then it will be very difficult to beat us.
“We have experienced World Cups before and we know that every rival will come out to try and beat us and play the game as if it is a final. That always makes it more complicated. But we are used to it.
“It will be important to start strongly. Iceland did well in their last tournament so the first match will not be comfortable. But these are the ones to win if you don’t want the next matches to be even more complicated.”
Argentina will also face Iceland and Croatia making it one of the tougher groups to negotiate.
Messi became his country’s youngest World Cup star in 2006 but Argentina still went out in the quarter-finals to Germany.
Then in 2010 they suffered again at the hands of the Germans again in the last eight in South Africa, losing by 4-0.
And finally, in 2014, he was denied a chance to win the trophy as captain when losing to the Germans for a third time.
He appeared to hint in an interview with a Spanish newspaper this week about his future, but yesterday refused to give a definite answer.
“I don’t want to speak about my future,” he said. “For now I’m only concerned about the present and doing the best I can in this World Cup.
“For Argentina the World Cup is special and it’s a big dream to lift the cup again. For me it would fulfil a childhood dream and so you can be sure I will give it everything.”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had earlier reported that Argentina pulled out from their international friendly against Israel.
Palestinians trooped out in numbers to protest the venue of the match which was slated for ancient city, Jerusalem.
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