Football

Coach Bauza: Argentina need to take risks against Colombia

Coach Bauza wants Argentina to take 'risks' to rescue qualifying hopes

Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza.

CONMEBOL

ARGENTINA v COLOMBIA

(Tomorrow, 7.25am, Singtel TV Ch 109 - Eleven)

Lionel Messi and Argentina's stars will have to take "risks" to beat Colombia and keep their World Cup hopes alive, coach Edgardo Bauza said ahead of their must-win clash tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Messi used expletives to Argentine media to highlight his anger after the Albiceleste lost 3-0 to Brazil last week.

That left them in sixth place in the South American World Cup group - and only four go through automatically.

They are only one point behind fifth-placed Chile, but anything but a win over Colombia could see a critical gap open up.

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano said after the Brazil defeat that Argentina had hit "rock bottom".

With the pressure on him and the team, Bauza said it was good for Mascherano to show his anger and he was still confident of reaching the 2018 Finals in Russia.

"We need the team to improve in terms of production and this means they will have to impose themselves," Bauza said after the final training session yesterday morning.

"Colombia have big players, individuals with quality and we have worked on countering that. We need to win and we need to take risks."

Bauza said the team were still smarting from the Brazil defeat. And the two-time World Cup winners must rebound.

"There has to be a good match and we must win, no excuses. There is a strong desire in the squad."

Argentina have injury doubts over Gonzalo Higuain, Gabriel Mercado and Ever Banega. The coach said all players are ready to play but none are confirmed.

While admitting Argentina's predicament was "complicated", Bauza was not worried about his own future and harked back to his troubles when he was in charge at LDU Quito in Ecuador.

CHAMPIONS

"In Quito, I was taken out of the stadium in a truck because they wanted to lynch me. In four months, we were the champions of South America," he said of his former team Quito, who won the Copa Libertadores in 2008.

Colombia go into the match third with 18 points following a goalless draw with Chile last week - still far from assuring qualification.

Key defenders Oscar Murillo and Yerry Mina are injured, but coach Jose Pekerman, who led his native Argentina at the 2006 World Cup, still has a strong team for the clash in San Juan, 1,000km south of Buenos Aires.

"The 3-0 defeat by Brazil will make them more hungry to win, but we know we need points, too," said winger Juan Cuadrado.

"We must be strong in midfield and not give them any space because that is where they are skilful and have players who make the difference."

South America has four automatic qualifying spots for Russia 2018. The fifth-placed team will take part in a play-off against a team from the Oceania zone. - AFP.


Colombia have big players, individuals with quality and we have worked on countering that. We need to win and we need to take risks... There has to be a good match and we must win, no excuses.

— Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza, ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Colombia

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