Argentine media deem Messi 'brilliant', defense 'fragile'

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Argentine star footballer Lionel Messi was "brilliant" in the national team's victorious World Cup match against Nigeria, but the defense looked "fragile," Argentina's national dailies concurred Thursday.

"Messi can do it all. Thanks to him, the national team won and reached the round of 16 unbeaten and leading (Group F)", the daily La Nacion trumpeted on its front page, above a photograph of Messi celebrating his second goal of the Cup alongside players Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo.

"(It was) a brilliant performance by No. 10, who scored two goals and made the difference for a team with a very poor defense, " the daily said.

The daily Clarin said a "brilliant Messi," affectionately nicknamed "the Flea," was allowing Argentines to "dream bigger."

"Argentina beat Nigeria 3-2 and won its group with perfect scoring," Clarin added. "The talent of the Flea, who scored two goals, made the difference ... Tuesday, Switzerland in the round of 16."

Sports daily Ole went even further in its praise, saying " Everybody kneel" before Messi, since "The world continues to bow to Leo (Messi), who scored two amazing goals in the first half."

The daily Cronica was just as effusive, saying the star player was so adept on the field, he appeared to be "From another planet. "

Messi "played another sensational match," Cronica said, adding, "the national team improved, though it showed two sides: a strong attack and a fragile defense."

Argentina concluded the group phase with victories in all three games: 2-1 Bosnia, 1-0 Iran and 3-2 Nigeria.

On Tuesday, at 1 pm local time (1600 GMT), Argentina plays Switzerland.

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