SAINT PETERSBURG — Nigeria defender Bryan Idowua said on Monday that their main goal and only option of Tuesday's match against Argentina is to make that to be Lionel Messi's last game in Russia.
In the last round of World Cup group stage, Nigeria will surely secure a place in the last 16 with a win while a draw will also suffice if Iceland don't beat group leaders Croatia with a big margin.
For Argentines, they can only have the chance of progressing if they clinch a big win against Nigeria. Idowua said on the pre-match press conference that although he and his teammates loved to "watch the football games that Messi plays", but "now he is playing against us so there is only one option for us."
"Tuesday's match has to be his last World Cup game in Russia," he told reporters. The match at Saint Petersburg Stadium marks the fifth World Cup clash between Argentina and Nigeria and Argentina won all the last four.
Regarding Nigeria's tactics, the 26-year-old defender said they need to avoid making fouls inside and outside the box. "Argentines are so good at free-kicks.
We are going to play aggressive but we are going to avoid unnecessary fouls," he said. The Nigeria defender also warned his teammates against conceding a late goal. At the World Cup in Russia, many teams were defeated because of goals in the injury time. "This World Cup has shown that you have to be prepared for the whole game because anything can happen in a football match.
You have to be 100 percent concentrated every time on the pitch before the referee's whistle," he said. Idowua played against Argentina in a friendly match last November, coming on as a half-time substitute and scoring Nigeria's third goal in a 4-2 win.
He said Tuesday's game is totally different because it's a World Cup match which is crucial for both teams. "It's going to be a big and important game. For the football and for the teams," Idowua said, "Hopefully, we can get the job done and qualify from the group." — XINHUA