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Man of the match – Lionel Messi (Argentina)


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Lionel Messi punches the air to celebrate victory over Nigeria
He may have faded after the break, but Argentina’s talisman was superb in the first half, scoring a wonderful opener

‘The World Cup starts here’ – reaction

Argentina captain Lionel Messi: “We were confident we would win this game. It’s wonderful to have won it this way – it is a well-deserved joy.

“I thank all the people who are here, for all their sacrifice, and all those who are in Argentina who were always with us. The shirt of the national team is above all.”

Argentina centre-back Marcos Rojo: “We needed it, now the World Cup begins for us.

“Lionel Messi had told the guys he was going to score a goal more than ever. The goal is for my family and for this group that deserves it. Let’s go Argentina!”

Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel: “We did everything we could. In the second half we pushed and pushed. It just wasn’t to be. It’s a young team and in four years most of them will be ready for this tournament.

“I’m very proud of the boys and what we have achieved. I think we have done really well. We have to keep going.”


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