Diego Maradona's two-time world champions Argentina will go all out for glory and seek to stun their hosts Uruguay on the counter attack to ensure a berth in next summer's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, striker Martin Palermo said Tuesday.
Under Diego Maradona's stewardship Argentina have endured a wobbly campaign in the extreme, suffering six defeats in 17 games. Failure to win in Montevideo will mean either a play-off against Honduras or Costa Rica - or potentially straight elimination.
Uruguay are a point behind them while Ecuador, two points adrift, could also still bag the final automatic qualifying place, which Argentina currently occupy, with a win in Chile. But Palermo says the albiceleste will strain every last sinew to ensure they get the three points they need.
"We have to think simply of ensuring we win, not turning on the style. We have to give it our all and give Argentines the happiness of getting to the World Cup," said Palermo, whose last-gasp goal saw off Peru on Saturday. "I am dreaming of us going through - no matter if I start on the bench."
We have to think simply of ensuring we win, not turning on the style. We have to give it our all and give Argentines the happiness of getting to the World Cup.
Cesar Luis Menotti, the coach of the 1978 side which lifted the trophy on home soil, said he believed that "we could see an historic match - it's going to be a thriller."
Maradona, who has run the rule over more than 70 players since taking over a year ago from Alfio Basile, will try to stun the Uruguayans on the counter-attack with the 4-4-2 formation which served him well in last year's friendly win over France although it misfired in the qualifying loss in Ecuador.
Soring responsibilities will fall on the shoulders of Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain, who at club level are bitter rivals with Barcelona and Real Madrid but who must now determine if the Argentines are to reach South Africa or miss out for the first time since 1970.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez meanwhile promised that "we will go for the win while totally respecting our opponents", in a match highlighting a rivalry spanning 108 years. "Our expectations are solely for the win. That is all that counts," noted Tabarez.