Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino expects Argentina to go all out for a win when they meet his side in their crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup South Afrca™ qualifier in Asuncion on Wednesday.
Diego Maradona's side are under intense pressure following the 3-1 defeat to Brazil on Saturday that has threatened their bid to reach next summer's finals. Following that loss Argentina are perilously placed in the table and while they occupy the fourth and final qualification position, just two points separate them from sixth-placed Ecuador.
As a result the heat is on Maradona and his side to perform against Paraguay, who themselves could confirm their place in South Africa with a win. Argentinean-born Martino is fully aware of the pressure the visitors will be under, and revealed he is planning to combat an all-out assault from the visitors.
Despite what has happened, Argentina are a world power and everything worries me. They still have a very strong squad. We are hosts and we must secure the progress to the World Cup.
"Argentina has no other option but to win and we'll play according to that," he told Ole newspaper. "We'll play a different way because the rivals we are up against will invite us to play another way. Despite what has happened, Argentina are a world power and everything worries me. They still have a very strong squad. We are hosts and we must secure the progress to the World Cup."
Coupled with the disappointment of the Brazil defeat, Argentina have also failed to win any of their previous six away matches during the current qualification campaign. Despite that Martino said his side must still be wary.
"When you lose you are always worried, but I don't think that Argentina are any worse because of losing to Brazil," the coach said. "They are still fourth in the standings, as they were before the Saturday's match, and now there is one less round."
Argentina skipper Javier Zanetti admitted that while it was difficult for his team-mates to lift themselves following the defeat to Brazil, the situation dictated they must quickly put the loss behind them.
"We must lift our head up because football does not give you any time to reflect on defeat," he said. "Paraguay are coming up and we must win. It is up to us and I hope we can do our best in order to qualify for South Africa. We must believe in ourselves.
"We are angry after losing to Brazil because we had planned that match quite well, but you can not fail in little details in football. We must overcome this terrible blow. We know we can succeed," the captain went on.
Argentina fans have become restless at their team's recent displays and midfielder Juan Carlos Veron said they were aiming to ease the nerves of a nation."Nothing but beating Paraguay matters. This is the message for our people," he said. "They should be calm because we'll do our best to qualify to the World Cup."