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Lionel Messi stunner breaks Iranian hearts in stoppage time

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- A stunning injury time strike from Lionel Messi spared Argentina's blushes as they qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup with a hard fought 1-0 win over Iran in Belo Horizonte.

Argentina had been thankful to three fine second-half saves from goalkeeper Sergio Romero just to be level heading into stoppage time, while Iran had also had a strong penalty appeal waved away when Pablo Zabaleta appeared to foul Ashkan Dejagah inside the area.

However, despite having endured a quiet game by his standards, Messi produced a moment of magic when his side needed it most to register his second goal of the tournament.

Argentina now lead Group F with maximum points from two games and will be confirmed as group winners should Saturday's late game between Nigeria and Bosnia Hercegovina fail to produce a winner.

However, after another underwhelming performance, Messi assured there is more still to come from his side

“We are not showing what we can do, but with a run of games I think we will get there.

“We are the first ones to know we have not reached the level we would like,” said the Barcelona forward.

“They made the game very difficult for us,” admitted Argentine boss Alejandro Sabella.

“Messi was marked very tightly, but he showed perseverance, patience, attitude and always looked for the goal. He never gave up.”

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 Bosnia-Herzegovina out as Nigeria end win drought 
Argentina's Lionel Messi, left, and Iran's Andranik Teymourian battle for the ball at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 21. (AP)

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