Messi: "I knew God was with us and wouldn't leave us knocked out"
"I don't know what the penalty was for; these days, with VAR it's very difficult... you get penalised for the slightest thing. It would have been a horrible way for us to go out".
Leo Messi chatted to reporters following Argentina's agonizing win over Nigeria which saw Sampaoli's side sneak into the Last 16. His opening goal, which gave the team belief and his strike against the post was enough for him to pick up the Man of the Match award.
Saved at the eleventh hour: "It would have been a horrible and unfair way to go out. We deserved to win the first game; we played well in the second game and were winning 1-0 but then lost concentration and gave away two needless goals away... I knew God was with us and wasn't going to let us go out".
All or nothing
Suffering right up to the final whistle: "We were confident that we were going to win this game; we didn't expect it to get complicated when Nigeria equalised which left us having to really go for the game with everything that entails - nerves, anxiety.. it was a huge feeling of happiness and relief after so much suffering".
Argentina pushed on by passionate support from the stands: "It was amazing. I's just like to thank the fans who have made a massive sacrifice to come here and fill the stadium in every match as well as those who are back home in Argentina living this together with us. They have shown that the national team is above everything else".
No easy rides in Russia
Demanding World Cup: "It's incredible how much we've been made to suffer but the important thing is that we are through to the next round... it's crazy how we've suffered in this game - but the World Cup shows that no team is going to give you anything. We saw yesterday how Spain and Portugal, two of the favourites to make it through their group ended up having a hard time. Every game is a battle and very difficult to win".
Penalty awarded to Nigeria: "We knew that this game was our only chance after not winning the first two matches. I don't know what the penalty was for; these days, with VAR it's very difficult... you get penalised for the slightest thing".
Another tough test on Saturday
France in the Last 16: "Obviously we've seen all of France's games so far, we've been following every game at the World Cup. France is a very balanced side with top level players, they have strong squad and fast players up front who make all the difference. I've got team mates in the France squad - players who I know really well. I know the kind of team we will be up against and it is going to be very complicated for us".
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