Lionel Messi said on Tuesday he had not expected to suffer so much against Nigeria, but that he and his Argentina teammates were always confident about winning the crucial World Cup clash.
The Barcelona forward opened the scoring with a fine goal in the dramatic 2-1 win over Nigeria that sent the South Americans through to the knockout stages behind Croatia in Group D.
“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.
After the Africans equalized through a Victor Moses penalty in the 51st minute, captain Messi said his side got “nervous.”
“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.
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.
Messi echoed his coach’s comments, saying that the squad had watched all of France’s games and that they had to brace themselves for the skilled Europeans.
“I also have teammates who I know very well both in the front and the back lines. I know who they are and I know what we will have to do,” said Messi.