Goals will come says Messi

World footballer of the year Lionel Messi is not worried he has so far failed to score at the World Cup as long as Argentina keep winning.

The Barcelona star hit the post and forced two good saves from Greece goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas last night, the second of which provided the rebound for veteran striker Martin Palermo to wrap up a 2-0 victory at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.



Diego Maradona's side coasted through Group B with maximum points and seven goals - none of which have yet come from the mercurial feet of Messi.



That is a combination of bad luck and the close attention he is receiving - Sokratis Papastathopoulos rarely left his side in last night's game - but the knock-on effect is that team-mates are benefiting.



"I know I still haven't scored but I'm not bothered about that," said Messi, who two days short of his 23rd birthday was made Argentina's youngest captain for the Greece game.



"Obviously I'd like to get a goal but it's only a question of time before it comes.



"The way Greece played made it tough for us. All they did was defend.



"Luckily we managed to impose ourselves again and we got another win, and that's what matters."



Maradona, who has been canny enough to give Messi a free role behind the two strikers as opposed to stationing him on the right wing where he occupies most of his time for Barcelona, is desperate for the number 10 to score.



"I was sorry Messi didn't get a goal," he said after the Greece victory.



"I dived on the ground when his shot hit the post and if there'd been a swimming pool around I'd have jumped in head first."



Midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron, who made his comeback from a calf injury as one of seven changes as Maradona rotated his side, has warned opponents they may find a way to nullify the threat of Messi but they will not stop Argentina scoring.



Maradona has brought six forwards to the World Cup with Liverpool midfielder Maxi Rodriguez and Benfica's Angel di Maria providing the attacking options from midfield.



Greece's plan to frustrate Messi by crowding him out was successful for long periods but Otto Rehhagel's side still found it was impossible to defend for 90 minutes without allowing Argentina a chance.



That the first goal went, fortuitously, to defender Martin Demichelis when he headed Messi's corner against team-mate Diego Milito and then smashed home the rebound is somewhat irrelevant.



If anything it proved that for all their attractive football Argentina pose as much of a threat from set-pieces and so defending in numbers from open play cannot guarantee a clean sheet.



"We realised what we had to do when we saw Greece did not propose anything other than defending," said the former Manchester United and Chelsea midfielder.



"Definitely the result was fair as any other ending would have been really unfair as Argentina were the only team who created anything and were always at the forefront.



"They marked Leo (Messi) very closely to try to cut off the flow of the game but we always find space by changing positions.



"It took a lot of work but the goal came when we needed it. From there it opened up a little and it finished better.



"I'm happy for the goals of Micho (Demichelis) and Martin because they deserve it.



"It is also very good not to always depend on the same scorers. It is an option we have and others do not."



Argentina now face Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg on Sunday in a repeat of their last-16 clash four years ago in Germany.



Then it took a wonder-goal from Rodriguez to settle the issue so Argentina will not take Javier Aguirre's free-flowing side for granted.



"We are driven by our dreams and desires but we know this is a long tournament and if we do not have a cool head at any time we will stumble," said the 35-year-old Estudiantes midfielder.



"Now it is inevitable we will meet good teams. We play Mexico and we must be prepared for whatever comes.



"We are going very well and we are all on the same wavelength, a factor that is key in a World Cup."



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food