Nigeria Manager Not Afraid Of Tackling Argentina Superstar Lionel Messi
Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr believes the Super Eagles will be prepared for the challenge posed by Argentina and Lionel Messi at this summer’s World Cup in Russia. The west African nation have met with Argentina in the 2010 and 2014 edition of the global tournament, and Rohr claims that they don’t fear the presence of Messi in the opposition ranks anymore.
Speaking to The Punch, Rohr said:"We know he [Messi] is one of the best players in the world but we are not worried about anybody because we have a good team. The game against Argentina will be a tough one and it will be very interesting going into the group’s last games. Perhaps we don't have players we had in the 1990s - when only one player could make the difference. But now, we have a young team playing good and quality football, not only one or two quality players who can make the difference."
Nigeria were the first African side to progress to the World Cup finals in Russia, but their chances of progressing beyond the group phase is unlikely to be easy, considering they have to contend with the likes of Croatia and Iceland, the former in particular possessing top-class players plying their trade in Europe’s elite clubs.
The Super Eagles face Argentina in the last Group D fixture on June 26th, but prior to that, they will be hoping to have at least one victory in their bag, such that they can seek to salvage a draw against the 2014 World Cup finalists. Rohr’s side picked up a rather shock 4-2 win over Argentina during an international friendly in November last year, but many pundits have since iterated that the game was played without pressure whilst Messi was not part of the Argentine setup under Jorge Sampaoli.