Argentina prospect Javier Pastore on Wednesday credited Italian football with the improvement he has made to allow him to be a part of his country's FIFA World Cup™ squad.
Pastore was a surprise selection for many people when national team coach Diego Maradona called him up to his 23-man squad. And the 21-year-old Palermo midfield playmaker said that a year in Serie A has brought his game on in a number of ways.
"I think Italian football has helped me tactically and in terms of getting back when we don't have the ball," he said. "It helps me a lot in Italy because sometimes I play in the middle and sometimes beside the number five [holding midfielder] but it's better for me to play on the wing because I can do more with the ball."
Pastore has made two brief substitute appearances in this FIFA World Cup but revealed that he has a good chance of being named in Maradona's first choice XI for Saturday's quarter-final clash with Germany. And the former Talleres and Huracan star, who hails from Cordoba, said that he has been impressed with the Germans. "Of course they will be very tough opponents but in this phase of the tournament all the teams are difficult. We are very good too," he said.
We will play how we always play, keeping possession and waiting for the right moment to attack.
"I think Germany have good attacking midfielders, they have very fast players on the wings so we must concentrate on that as well as set-pieces where they are strong. Dead ball situations are very important in football today so we will need to have cool heads and courage."
However, despite Germany's attacking prowess, Pastore believes Argentina have the answer to ensure that it is they who emerge victorious, and that means sticking to their usual gameplan. "We will play how we always play, keeping possession and waiting for the right moment to attack," he said.
"We always create chances, this is the way we play, keeping hold of the ball as much as possible so we can dictate the game. Against Greece we had a lot of the ball and also against Mexico. We create chances because we have the ball and I believe that I'm the right type of player for this style.
"This will be a tight match with few goal-scoring chances, but I think this game will be a little more open than our friendly in March [which Argentina won 1-0 in Germany]."