Argentina Defender Fazio: Messi’s Change Of Attitude Helped Us Beat Nigeria

Argentina Defender Fazio: Messi’s Change Of Attitude Helped Us Beat Nigeria

With Argentina struggling at the World Cup, getting one point from its first two games, the team, and Messi, had to step up on Tuesday in a must-win match against Nigeria.

Sampaoli's solution was to hand Banega his first start of this World Cup against Nigeria and the 29-year-old's composure on the ball, ability to pick a pass and tough tackling paid dividends at both ends of the pitch.

Ronaldo on the other hand started his tournament with a hat-trick against Spain but has slipped behind England's Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot after seeing his penalty saved in Portugal's 1-1 draw with Iran.

Fazio said it was a change in mindset that was crucial for Argentina, who face France in the last 16 Saturday.

The Argentina coach also refuted the notion that Messi didn't enjoy playing for his country.

Sampaoli said: "Leo has such clear vision when it comes to football that he allows us to see things that, sometimes, only a true genius sees".

Much has been made of the footage of the discussion before Sampaoli brought on striker Sergio Aguero as a substitute during the 2-1 win over Nigeria that secured Argentina's passage to the round of 16.

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Sampaoli came under huge fire after Argentina drew 1-1 with Iceland in their first match in Russian Federation and were thrashed 3-0 in their second by Croatia, all amid reports of unrest in their camp.

Argentinian soccer reporter, Rama Pantarotto revealed Messi's secret in a video posted on Twitter.

"I don't remember such suffering", said Messi when asked if it was the most tense match of his career. "We make important decisions in games and I was simply explaining it, that we would use a strategy we had; using more attacking players".

We wish him all the best for the rest of the World Cup. An 86th minute strike from defender Marcos Rojo gave them a barely deserved 2-1 win over Nigeria, eliminating the African side.

"We are going to try and improve that and we are sure that is not going to happen tomorrow".

On Friday he faced questions about dealing with adversity, about Messi's mood, and the difficulties of setting up the Argentina team so their brilliant star could shine.

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