KAZAN, Russia: Colombia’s Yerry Mina sent a message of support to embattled Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi as Argentina bid to avoid crashing out of the World Cup on Tuesday.
After missing a penalty in a 1-1 draw with minnows Iceland, Messi and his Argentina team were thumped 3-0 by Croatia.
To qualify for the last 16 in Russia, the two-time champions need to beat Nigeria in Saint Petersburg and hope Iceland fail to win against Group D leaders Croatia.
But if Iceland win as well, it will be time to get the calculators out.
“Leo is a great footballer, a genius, and I respect him for the person he is,” Mina, who scored in a 3-0 win over Poland, said at Colombia’s training camp in Sviyazhsk.
“I don’t know why he’s being criticised… what he has achieved is incomparable.
“As he told me when I arrived at Barcelona, he shouldn’t pay attention to what’s being said. Just play.”
Juan Cuadrado, who plays at Juventus with Argentina forwards Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, said: “They know the talent that God has given them. When they come on the pitch it’s up to them to exploit it.
“They know they have a chance to demonstrate that and go out and do it with joy.”
Colombia, who reached the quarter-finals in Brazil in 2014, will look to seal their place in the knockout round when they face Senegal on Thursday in Group H. —AFP