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?
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable