|Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal against Paraguay during the 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Cordoba, Argentina, Sept. 7, 2012. Argentina won 3-1. (Xinhua/Martin Zabala)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Argentina striker Lionel Messi says finishing first in the World Cup qualifying phase is not the team's priority.
Argentina went to the top of the South American confederation's Conmebol standings on Friday with a 3-1 victory over Paraguay in Cordoba.
Messi twice hit the woodwork before curling in a trademark free-kick in the 63rd minute at the Mario Kempes stadium. Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria also scored for Argentina while Jonathan Fabbro netted for Paraguay.
"Finishing first in qualifying is not the most important thing," Messi said after the match. "What matters most is to get to the World Cup in good form and playing well as a team."
"We knew it was going to be tough against Paraguay and that they would be compact in defense but fortunately we were able get the first goal early. After they leveled we didn't drop our heads and managed to get the result we wanted."
Conmebol's top four teams will automatically qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil while fifth will play off against the Asian confederation's fifth-ranked team.