Who’s saying what at the World Cup

Lionel Messi and Argentina face France in the last 16 on Saturday

Moscow (AFP) – AFP Sport picks out some of the best quotes at the World Cup:

“In general, I wish my Barcelona colleagues success, unless they’re playing against Croatia, and I’m glad he scored (against Nigeria) and reached the next round. He deserved it, he plays so well. I wish him good luck.”

— Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic has only good words for his Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi.

“He has a way of playing that doesn’t necessarily fit everyone. But it’s him, it’s his style. He’s been getting better and better during the competition. He’s not thinking about his injury.”

— Rakitic is not quite as effusive in his praise for former club teammate Neymar.

“Crowds of Mexican louts would have passed by the necropolis of the country’s best people wearing costumes of smiling skeletons, jumping, dancing, tooting horns, ringing bells, flirting and playing love games.”

— Communists of Russia party spokesman Sergei Malinkovich, after Mexican fans were told to abandon plans to hold a “Day of the Dead” parade in Red Square.

“First of all I want to thank God for this win. I always give glory to God. (Radamel) Falcao is also a Christian, as is (Juan) Cuadrado. Our team is very much connected to God. We’re always praying and giving glory to him.”

— Barcelona defender Yerry Mina, whose header against Senegal on Thursday sent Colombia through to the last 16, thanks the team’s supposed 12th man.

“Somehow, some way, you need to decide a winner.”

— Colombia coach Jose Pekerman, when asked whether the disciplinary record rule, which saw Japan into the last 16 and Senegal exit the tournament, was fair.

“It is our commitment to fair play that has got us through.”

— Japan Football Association president Kozo Tashima on the controversial defensive tactics that saw Japan reach the last 16.