While the Super Eagles are looking forward to their first game of the World Cup on Monday against Iran, there is war of words going on in the enemies camps of Nigeria’s other group rivals, Bosnia and Argentina.
This time, Bosnia defender Muhamed Besic is looking forward to what will undoubtedly be a herculean task of stopping Lionel Messi when both teams clash in the Group F opener on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.
Besic has assured he will try his best to stop Lionel Messi when Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina go head-to-head at the FIFA World Cup.
Argentina Messi is expected to provide the biggest test for Bosnia-Herzegovina, though coach Safet Susic recently denied his team would attempt to man-mark the superstar, with a zonal system the most likely option.
And while Besic conceded he faces an uphill battle, the 21-year-old defender will do all he can to nullify Messi’s influence.
“I do not want to promise that I will stop Messi. Previously, some were saying I will stop him,” said Besic, who has played in the country’s past two international friendlies.
“What I promise is that I will give my best to fulfil all the requirements that coach Susic sets before me. Get a chance to back the team and I hope to take advantage of it in the best way.”
In what will be their first World Cup appearance, Bosnia-Herzegovina are viewed as one of the outsiders to win the tournament.
But despite the lack of expectation, Bosnia-Herzegovina head into Sunday’s clash on the back of wins against fellow World Cup participants Cote d’Ivoire (2-1) and Mexico (1-0).
Besic, who plies his trade for Hungarian club Ferencvaros, said he is happy with the team’s preparation but is refusing to look beyond the Argentina fixture.
“I am pleased with the game against the Ivory Coast and Mexico. However, every game is a new challenge,” he said.
“I do not like to comment in advance, especially as the high expectations of me, but the Bosnia-Herzegovina team at the world championships.”
Following Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Group F opener, the Balkan nation will also face Nigeria’s Super Eagles who eventually touched down in Sao Paulo in the early hours of Wednesday morning(in Nigeria) on June 21 and Iran on June 25.