Kanu: Argentina under presure to win

JOHANNESBURG, June 11 (Reuters) - Nigeria's captain Nwankwo Kanu said on Friday the pressure was on Argentina to win their opening World Cup group B game and promised his side would make the game a tough, physical battle if necessary.

Kanu said Nigeria's Super Eagles were unfazed by the prospect of facing a team which include players such as the FIFA world footballer of the year Lionel Messi.

"I think the pressure is on them. We only have to go and enjoy our football," Kanu told reporters after the team's final training session in Johannesburg.

"They have to be aware of our strikers. We have good strikers, as they do, and tomorrow we will see that," he said.

Kanu dismissed suggestions from Argentine coach Diego Maradona who had earlier said the sometimes physical game displayed by Nigeria was "rough and hard".

"For us it is football. We have to do whatever we have to do to make sure we win," Kanu said.

"It is good of course when you play an African country you know what to expect. It is not going to be an easy game, we are not going to make it easy for them," he added.


Nigeria's coach Lars Lagerback said though he did not have enough time to assess Maradona as a coach, he nevertheless expected him to deliver an attacking style.

"What I have seen from Argentina, not only with Maradona as a coach, they always try a very offensive game," Lagerback said, adding all 23 Nigerian players took part in the final training session and there were no injury worries.

"We have gone through the Argentine team with the players, so we have different scenarios on how we play tomorrow.

Nigeria play Argentina in what many have billed as a revenge encounter at the Johannesburg Ellis Park stadium.

Argentina have faced Nigeria twice before in the group stage at the World Cup, beating them 2-1 in the United States in 1994 and 1-0 in Japan in 2002.