Argentina head coach Alejandro Sabella
Alejandro Sabella shouts instructions during the 2014 World Cup Group F match between Argentina and Iran at the the Mineirao stadiumReuters

Argentina head coach Alejandro Sabella has hailed Lionel Messi, labelling him a "genius", after the Barcelona star's injury-time winner helped La Albiceleste register a dramatic 1-0 win over Iran and seal a place in the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup.

The two-time world champions endured a difficult match as they were unable to break down Iran's defence throughout the 90 minutes. On the contrary, the Asian side threatened to score, after getting a few good chances.

However, just when it looked like the game was heading towards a draw, captain Messi came to Argentina's rescue, snatching the winner in injury time.

And Sabella, who acknowledged his players' efforts in the victory over Iran, pinpointed Messi's importance in the squad, claiming every team would want to have a player like him in their ranks.

"All players who played today have contributed to this victory but of course we have a genius who is called Messi. Fortunately he is Argentine. Everybody would have liked to have Messi but it is us who have him," Sabella stressed.

Despite admitting that Iran put up a very good fight throughout the match, Sabella feels "even two goalkeepers" could not have saved Messi's match-winning goal.

"It was a very difficult match and Iran played a great World Cup match. But that last play from Lionel, no-one could have stopped it. Not even two goalkeepers could have stopped that Lionel shot," the coach added.

Messi, who also admitted that Argentina found it very hard to break Iran, says he was relieved after scoring the winner.

"It was a difficult game to be honest. They were able to close up at the back, so it was difficult for us to break down the defence," the four-time Ballon d'Or winner pointed out.

"When I saw that I had scored I was very happy, because we were in added time already and wanted to qualify for the next phase."

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