Super Eagles skipper, John Obi Mikel is confident that the three-time African champions will be the third team to stop Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi from scoring at the 2018 World Cup after Iceland and Croatia showed them the way.
Including the Argentinian youth teams, Messi has been directly involved in 6 goals (4 goals, 2 assists) Argentina has scored against the Nigerian teams in only five appearances and could become the first player to score at the World Cup as a teenager, in his twenties and in his thirties if he finds the net against the Super Eagles on Tuesday.
Messi, who celebrates his 31st birthday yesterday, first scored at the World Cup in the 2006 edition against Serbia at the age of eighteen, then netted in South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 while in his twenties.
”It is always difficult facing Argentina, this game is a do or die game, it is not like the first game of the group or the second game, this is the last game of the group. We have to die on the pitch,” Mikel told reporters in the mixed zone.
The Nigeria number ten added: ‘‘it’s obviously very hard to defend against (Messi). Both teams so far have done really well defending him, we have to see what we can do, how we can make sure we defend against him, not just against him but also against the whole team.
”We have to play our game as well and make sure we create chances and score goals.”
The Super Eagles held their final training session at their base camp in Essentuki yesterday morning and didn’t train when the arrived in Saint Petersburg later yesterday.