Real Madrid forward Angel Di Maria on Sunday hit out at media criticism of Argentina's performance in the 1-0 World Cup win over Iran. The twice former champions needed an injury-time wonder goal from four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi to snatch a victory in a match they could even have lost.
Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero had also made two stunning saves while Iran were incensed not to be awarded a second-half penalty.
"In my opinion we played well. Obviously we didn't play very well. You could clearly see they (Iran) were playing with all 11 (players) in the area," said Di Maria from Argentina's Cidade do Galo base near Belo Horizonte. "We tried from every angle to enter (into the area). Obviously everyone thinks we didn't play well but it's impossible to play in this way (against ultra-defensive opposition)," he complained.
Di Maria underlined that the most important thing had been qualifying already, after just two games, for the last 16.
"We're making the most of being at the World Cup, living the World Cup, representing an entire country," said Di Maria. "Obviously it hurts when you hear people saying that they don't like you, when people say different things to us. For that reason the most important thing is to remain united."
Argentina need just a draw in their final Group F match against Nigeria to secure top spot, and likely avoid France in the second round.
"We watched a bit of Nigeria's match (on Saturday, a 1-0 win over Bosnia)," said Di Maria. "They have good players, they won. They'll give 100 percent against us to try to overtake us in the table."
Nigeria have four points from their two games so far, two less than Argentina.