Gernot Rohr has hope that Ahmed Musa will again step up to the plate in their deciding game against Argentina today, but is quick to admit that the Leicester City man is no Lionel Messi … yet.
The Super Eagles forward proved the difference as Nigeria beat Iceland 2-0 at Volgograd Arena on Friday evening, scoring a brace in the second half as his pace wreaked mayhem for the defenders.
“Musa is not Lionel Messi yet,” the German told kicker. “Somebody said ‘Lionel Musa’ yesterday, but he’s not there yet. I hope he can do it one day.”
The Super Eagles coach will need Musa firing on all cylinders in St Petersburg and has warned that his players are in for a serious challenge as Argentina look to save face after a 3-0 humiliation against Croatia.
Messi more than most will be up for a shot at redeeming their image, having been severely criticised for his two performances to date, but Rohr warns that focusing on just one player could lead to serious problems for the Eagles.
“He’s not the only key. If you look at the team, they have so many good players. You only have to look at where they are playing. Aguero and Otamendi at Manchester City. Higuain and Dybala at Juve and so it continues. Individually, Argentina are among the best teams in the world.
“They were unfortunate to miss that penalty against Iceland. Argentina are not only Messi, but he’s the most dangerous, that’s obvious. Moreover, he is a proud person and he does not want to go out.
“They will turn their disappointment into a good aggressiveness and motivation. And I must be careful after such a win. That glowing, I need to keep the lads grounded. Other than Mikel and Moses my players lack experience.”
On how the coach rates his team’s chances of getting something from the match and knocking Argentina out, Rohr had this to say: “Fifty-fifty. A draw could already be enough, even though we are not allowed to play for a draw. We are not allowed to and we can’t do it. Not with Africans, and certainly not with our young team.”
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago