BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Argentine sports publication, TyC Sports has reported that Nigeria’s manager, Gernot Rohr has joked that he wished Argentina would beat Iceland and Croatia in their opening two games at the Russia 2018 World Cup in June.
According to the report, Rohr’s postulation is that if Argentina wins the first two matches, the likelihood of the ‘super-human’ Lionel Messi playing against Nigeria will be in doubt as he would want to be excused for a more challenging knock-out based round of 16 match which will follow the Argentina-Nigeria match.
The report has it that Rohr cracked the jokes thus: “Maybe Messi refuses to play against us, if Argentina wins the first two games.”
He was attempting to answer a question on what antidote his team will offer to contain the rampaging Messi. He however remarked that a particular player will not be detailed after Messi.
“Nothing is impossible, the only solution for Messi is a collective solution, not an individual solution, but we will have time to observe”.
The Nigeria versus Argentina match holds two days after Lionel Messi’s 31st birthday just like the encounter at the Brazil 2014 held a day after the mercurial footballer’s 27th birthday.
Despite having picked qualification for the next round, Messi opted to play against Nigeria to give his country a ‘gift’ to mark his birthday.
In addition, the German coach acknowledged that he sent “a spy” to watch the Argentina defeat of Italy in Manchester.