From Mumini Alao in Port Alegre:
Lionel Messi is in cloud nine following Argentina’s impressive campaign so far at the FIFA World Cup which sees the South Americans finish the Group F games with nine maximum points.
Argentina’s group outings and confirmation as group leaders culminated with a nervy 3-2 win over the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Porto Alegre where the four-time world player of the year winner scored a brace.
“I am happy with the way things have evolved for Argentina so far in this World Cup, Messi said. “Today, I believe we had a better performance than the two previous games and we scored three goals.
“Our target is to win the World Cup, but we have to go a step at a time. I told my colleagues we couldn’t afford to lose concentration because Nigeria has very good players as we saw in their scoring two goals.
Messi reciprocated Stephen Keshi’s kind words following the Nigerian coach’s glowing praises for the qualities of the Barcelona star.
Messi said: “I thank the coach of Nigeria for saying that I’m from another planet. But I am just another player in the Argentina team and we want to do the best for our country and make our people happy.”
Messi has always been a thorn in the flesh of the Nigerian national teams both at the senior level and twice at youth levels.
Argentina will play runners up in Group E while Nigeria will take on the Group E winners France on Monday at 5pm Nigerian time.