Neymar backs Messi as Argentina, Germany prepare

Neymar backs Messi as Argentina, Germany prepare

RIO DE JANEIRO - Agence France-Presse
Neymar backs Messi as Argentina, Germany prepare

Brazil's forward Neymar arrives for a press conference in Teresopolis on July 10. AFP Photo

Crocked Brazilian star Neymar declared he wants Lionel Messi to lead fierce rivals Argentina to victory over Germany as the countdown to the World Cup final began.

Neymar, who missed Brazil's 7-1 humiliation against Germany through injury, told a press conference he wanted Messi and Argentina to win the title.

"Messi's history in the sport is so important, he has won a lot of trophies and I will be cheering for him," said Neymar, a team-mate of Messi's at Barcelona.

"He is a friend, he is my team-mate and I wish him luck."

Neymar's support of Messi, and by extension Argentina, is unlikely to be shared by many of his compatriots.

Brazilians are dreading the prospect of Argentina claiming their third world title in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.

The South American nations are sworn footballing enemies, and Argentina's advance to the final rubbed salt into Brazilian wounds still fresh from Tuesday's record defeat to Germany.

"The nightmare continues," O Dia newspaper commented glumly after Argentina booked their place in the final by beating the Netherlands.