Zimbabwe’s Chamisa worried about opposition clampdown after rally blast

Relieved Messi grateful at surviving Nigeria ordeal


Lionel Messi expressed his relief on Tuesday after beating Nigeria in the third game of the group stage to qualify for the knockout round.

“We already knew we were going to win, we were confident that God would help us, that all would turn out well. But we did not expect the complication of the draw, of suffering so much,” Messi told Argentine media.

Messi scored the his first goal in this World Cup campaign after suffering a two-match goal drought which plagued his team almost to the verge of an early exit out of the competition.

Messi said his team got “nervous” immediately after Victor Moses converted a penalty in the 51st minute of the game.

“We had the impression that time was going by faster. That’s the reason we started attacking and pressing more and that’s how we managed to score to go through,” he said in a news conference later on Tuesday.

Marcos Rojo was the man that saved the day four minutes with a calm finish into the bottom right corner of the net.

“We made many changes, trying to create opportunities but the important thing today was the players were really brave. That courage made this result possible,” said Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli.

Argentina will need to be more consistent when facing France in the last 16, he added.

“The match against France is going to be tough as well and we need to be very coherent to win,” Sampaoli said.

Asked by Argentine media how he felt personally, Messi, who turned 31 this week, replied: “I’m good. I’m very happy. It would have been very painful to have been eliminated in the first round.”

Argentina will play against France in the round of 16. France hasn’t lost a match since the beginning of the 2018 World Cup.

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