Manchester United goalkeeper, Sergio Romero has raised the ante ahead of lining out with his country, Argentina in World Cup action against Nigeria and other countries, as he says his side is the one to fear in Group D.
Though observers have given Nigeria’s Super Eagles great odds to shock Argentina once again, as they did in an international friendly last November, Romero insists his side’s World Cup pedigree means all their opponents must be scared of La Albiceleste.
The two-time World Cup winners will open their campaign against Iceland on June 16, before taking on Croatia in their next game and battle Nigeria in the last.
Speaking ahead of their first game against Iceland, Romero however described the newcomers as a tough side.
“But we, as Argentina, such a football-mad country and so sentimental, have to look inwards and not at other teams.
“We’ve got to do our work and if we do that well, the other teams will have to worry about Argentina,” Romero boasted.
Despite playing second fiddle to David De Gea at Man United, the second choice shot-stopper expressed confidence that it would not affect his chances of being in goal for Argentina in Russia.
The 31-year-old could face stiff competition from uncapped River Plate goalkeeper Franco Armani, who was included in Jorge Sampaoli’s 35-man provisional squad on Monday after a stellar season that included 11 clean sheets in his last 15 matches.
However, the first choice goalkeeper in Argentina’s 1986 World Cup winning team, Luis Islas has called for the exclusion of Romero from the national team’s starting line-up in Russia.
In place of Romero, who has been guilty of some lapses of recent, Islas is rooting for uncapped River Plate keeper, Franco Armani to start ahead of the more experienced Man U star.
Romero has been a regular for Argentina since getting his first call-up in 2009, winning 92 caps – 36 more than any other Argentinian keeper.
The 31-year-old has, however, failed to make a single league appearance for United this season. He has made just six over the last three campaigns.
On his part, Armani, also 31, who rejected the opportunity to pursue an international future with Colombia to fight for a place in Argentina’s Russia 2018 squad, has conceded just one goal in his last eight outings since joining River Plate in January.
“I would take him (Armani) to the World Cup,” added Islas who was a 20-year-old deputy to Nery Pumpido at Mexico 1986. “We’re not talking about an 18-year-old kid.
Islas, who was in goal when Argentina came from a goal down to beat Nigeria 2-1 in the group stage of the USA 1994 World Cup, added: “Given his current form, Armani has to start against Iceland.
“That said, you would have to give it deep thought because you don’t know how he’d respond to being in goal for the national team.”