Late win 'marvellous' way to progress - Messi

2018-06-26 23:15
Lionel Messi (Supplied)

Saint Petersburg - A relieved Lionel Messi believes Argentina deserve their place in the last 16 of the World Cup after being saved by Marcos Rojo's late winner against Nigeria as they avoided an embarrassing group-stage exit.

READ: Argentina sensationally qualify for last 16

Messi opened the scoring in Saint Petersburg with his first goal of the tournament, but Victor Moses's early second-half penalty made it another nervous night in Russia for the five-time world player of the year and under-fire coach Jorge Sampaoli before Rojo's late intervention.

"It is marvellous to have won it in this manner. It is a deserved joy," Messi said in quotes published by Argentina's official Twitter account.

"We knew God was with us and wasn't going to let us go out.

"I thank all the fans that are here, for all their sacrifice and to all those in Argentina that were always with us. The shirt of the national team is above all else."

Argentina will need a vast improvement if they are to progress any further as they face highly fancied France in the last 16 on Saturday.

More In This Category

Thomas Mueller says the Germans' shock early exit from the World Cup will provide "huge motivation" when he starts the new season.
Russian police have unexpectedly released Pussy Riot punk group members while they still face charges for invading the pitch at the World Cup football final.
Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has pledged his continued loyalty to the Serie A outfit amid reported interest from Europe's elite clubs.
New Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui says Gareth Bale is happy at the club and will reject any transfer move to Manchester United.