Five-time Ballon d’OR winner and skipper of Argentina’s national team, Lionel Messi says his side needed a win against Nigeria to save them public ridicule.
A surprised draw against Iceland and a 3-0 lost to Croatia placed Argentina in a condition where only a win against the Super Eagles could guarantee them a place in the last 16 stage of the 2018 World Cup.
Argentina struck first through a Messi effort but his lead was cancelled by Victor Moses.
A late goal from an unlikely source in Marcos Rojo gave Argentina a place in the last 16.
They were however knocked out by eventual winners France in a seven-goal thriller in the round of 16.
Lionel Messi who is set to join his teammates for preparations for the Copa America has been reflecting on a disappointing tournament in Russia.
He has said that losing to Nigeria would have been a ‘big disgrace’.
“It would have been very humiliating if Nigeria had eliminated us at the group stage. “The World Cup in Russia was a complicated period for us.
But people knew we were not candidates to win. Today is different, I see a young and excited group ready for success.
“When we qualified against Nigeria in the World Cup everyone who was mocking us was silent, they wanted us to be humiliated. If we were knocked out in the groups they would have killed us all.”
Whiles the Argentine’s are preparing for the Copa America which could be Messi’s last national assignment, the Super Eagles have also intensified training for the 2019 AFCON.