Duro Ikhazuagbe in St Petersburg
Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has warned that there will be no mercy for Lionel Messi on Tuesday night as Nigeria takes on Argentina in a win or burst last Group D clash of the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup here at the St Petersburg Stadium in Russia.
Rohr insisted yesterday here in St Petersburg that the Super Eagles will not wait to be rolled over because Messi was playing in his last World Cup.
â€œThere will be no mercy for Messi even if we love him so much. We are not in Russia to watch Messi play. Super Eagles want to play to win. We are here to qualify for the next stage and will not allow Messi and his Argentina to ride us to fame,â€ stressed the Super Eagles gaffer.
Speaking shortly before Eagles took to the St Petersburg Stadium turf for the final work out before confronting Argentina for the sixth time at the World Cup, Rohr, revealed that his wards have trained very well ahead of the crucial match and are not bothered by the quality of the South American nation.
â€œWe are not bothered by the fact that Argentina is in the Top 10 of world football while we are in the 49th spot. We are hungry to qualify for the Round of 16,â€ stressed Rohr.
While refusing to disclose the formation to expect against the Albiceleste, the Franco-German coach however hinted that Eagles will not commit any of the silly mistakes that have seen the three-time African champions give away two cheap penalties to Croatia and Iceland.
â€œIt is going to be a spectacular game. We can play 4-3-2-1 or 4-4-2 or even 3-5-2. What I can assure you is that the beginning of the game will be better than all the two previous matches we have played here at this World Cup.
â€œThere will be no repeat of the kind of silly mistakes that costs us two cheap penalties in our last two matches.
â€œWe have trained hard to ensure that our defenders do not repeat such silly mistakes again against Argentina,â€ he affirmed.
Although he acknowledged that the Argentines have experienced players like Sergio Aguero, Angel di MariaRohr said nobody should discountenance his young team from having the capacity to shock the two-time world champions.
Argentina has played Nigeria five times and scored six times. Five of those goals came from set pieces. Even one of the goals the Albiceleste scored in their 4-2 loss to Eagles during the international friendly at Krasnodar, Russia last November was also from a free kick.
Rohr revealed how he encouraged Ahmed Musa to look for club where he was going to be getting regular starting shirts ahead of the World Cup which has now paid off for his with the two quality goals against Iceland.
â€œLast season he was not getting regular matches at Leicester City so I had to tell his to go elsewhere to play regularly that was why he returned to CSKA Moscow. I was coming here regularly to monitor his progress. I saw him play in snow and tough conditions to get back to form and now we have seen the result of his hard work. I hope heâ€™s able to reenact that form against Argentina,â€ he noted of the former Kano Pillars top star who scored Nigeriaâ€™s two goals in the 3-2 loss to Argentina in Brazil four years ago.