We can do much better, says Messi
23 June, 2014
BELO HORIZONTE: Argentina captain Lionel Messi insisted his side needed to improve after sealing their place in the last 16 of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Iran on Saturday.
The four-time World Player of the Year curled home his second goal of the competition to snatch all three points after Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero had kept Iran at bay with three fine second-half saves.
"We can do much better," said the Barcelona forward. "But with a run of games I think we will be able to play our best.
"We are the first ones to know we have not reached the level we would like. Despite that, though, we had a lot of chances in the first half."
Messi admitted that the toil of playing in the early afternoon heat in Belo Horizonte had contributed to his side's difficulty in breaking down a well-organised Iranian defence.
"It was very difficult for us. We suffered a lot with the heat. In the first half we had a lot of chances and in the second they came out a bit more and had theirs. Luckily we managed to win at the end."
Meanwhile, Iran coach Carlos Queiroz felt that his squad deserved at least a point as they were rejected what looked like a clear penalty.
"The referee hasn't done what he had to. It was a clear penalty," he said.
'The referee should go home too'
Bosnia-Herzegovina were sent packing from the World Cup on Sunday, and striker Eden Dzeko laid the blame for their first round exit on the 'shameful' referee in charge of the 1-0 loss to Nigeria in Cuiaba.
The Group F fixture was played out in stamina-sapping tropical conditions but Dzeko´s blood was boiling not from the clammy 30 degree temperature, but because of his first-half goal disallowed for offside.
"We are going home," said Dzeko. "The referee should go home too, because he changed the result, he changed the game, and that's why we lost."
Peter Odemwingie gave Nigeria the decisive goal, which left the pointless tournament debutants Bosnia heading home after their closing game against Iran next Wednesday.