World Cup: Stephen Keshi proud as Nigeria become first African side in the last 16

Last Updated: 25/06/14 9:32pm

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Nigeria's coach Stephen Keshi gestures as Argentina's coach Alejandro Sabella looks on during the Group F football match between Nigeria and Argentina

Nigeria's coach Stephen Keshi gestures as Argentina's coach Alejandro Sabella looks on during the Group F football match between Nigeria and Argentina

Sky Bet

Stephen Keshi spoke of his pride at leading Nigeria to become the first African team to reach the World Cup knock-out stages this summer, despite losing 3-2 to Argentina.

Keshi’s men came from behind to equalise twice, with Ahmed Musa hitting a brace to cancel out strikes from Lionel Messi, but a second-half effort from Marco Rojo proved to be the difference in Porto Alegre.

Nigeria knew that a point would have been enough to confirm their place in the last 16, but Bosnia’s 3-1 win over Iran in Salvador meant that this result proved to be irrelevant for them as they secured second place.

Keshi said: "I feel honoured, I feel happy. I just want to thank the players and the fans."

A first-half double from Messi stole the headlines – especially his stunning free-kick to make it 2-1 – and Keshi was keen to pay tribute to the Barcelona star.

"Messi is one heck of a player, you can't take it away from him. There are good calibre players in the Argentina team but Messi is from Jupiter.

"But we lost because we gave too much respect to the Argentines and did not play our game."

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