Lionel Messi has described Argentina’s dramatic 2-1 win over Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup as “a huge release and relief”.

Argentina were deemed to be in crisis following a meek 1-1 draw with tournament debutants Iceland and a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Croatia.

In Tuesday’s Group D meeting with Nigeria, Messi opened the scoring for Argentina but Victor Moses ‘s equaliser from the penalty spot had the two-time World Cup winners on the brink of elimination.

However, Marcos Rojo scored an emphatic volley with just four minutes left in Saint Petersburg to nudge the South Americans into the last 16 of the tournament, where they will face France.

“We have suffered a lot, it was a difficult situation,” the Barcelona talisman told reporters at full time. “It was a huge release and relief for all of us.

“We have watched every France game – we have watched every game of this World Cup. France are a very good side with skilled players, very fast players who can really make a difference.”

The last-16 encounter between France and Argentina takes place in Kazan on Saturday

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