- Lionel Messi has insisted that Argentina knew they would beat Nigeria
- The South American nation beat Nigeria 2-1 to dump the three-time African nation out of the World Cup
- Marcos Rojo scored a late winner to secure Argentina a place in the last-16 of the World Cup
Argentina forward Lionel Messi has said the South American nation knew they would defeat Nigeria in their last Group D match to book a spot in the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup.
Speaking moments after the crunch match on Tuesday night, June 26, Messi insisted Argentina never doubted for a moment they would beat Nigeria and escape from Group D.
READ ALSO: Argentina's legend Maradona in middle-finger celebration after his side's narrow escape
'‘It was a difficult match because of the results before and many other things that have been said,’' the Metro UK quoted Messi.
'‘We knew it was going to be difficult but fortunately we have achieved our aim
'‘We didn’t think that we were going to suffer as much as we have. We were quite confident that we would be able to go through and fortunately it became true.
‘'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,’' he added.
The Barcelona star and Manchester United star Marcos Rojo scored a goal apiece to secure a place in the last-16.
However, Jorge Sampaoli's men had to wait until the 86th minute to confirm their place, as Rojo surged into the area in the unlikeliest position to volley home from place Gabriel Mercado's cross to hand Argentina a vital victory.
READ ALSO: Messi scores as Argentina pip Nigeria 2-1 to qualify for round of 16
Earlier, Messi had opened the scoring for Argentina in the 14th minute, before Chelsea star Victor Moses restored parity for Nigeria in the 51st minute from the penalty spot.
Nigeria needed a bare minimum of a draw to sail through to the next stage of the competition.
Meanwhile, Argentina will face Group C winners France in the last 16 in Kazan on Saturday, June 30.
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