Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain believes his team must forget their surprise defeat to Venezuela as they looked to get back to winning ways against Bolivia tomorrow. Argentina began their 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ qualification campaign with a promising 4-1 success over Chile only to suffer a 1-0 reverse to Venezuela in their second game.
With Bolivia bottom of the flegling table after losing their opening two games Argentina are fully expected to win in Buenos Aires, but Higuain is taking nothing for granted. "We know it will be a tough game but we'll try to play it well," the Real Madrid forward told Ole newspaper. "We must get over the Venezuela defeat. Bolivia will not attack us, but we must find the spaces on the field to hurt them."
Higuain believes the current qualification campaign will be more difficult than previous editions, despite the absence of Brazil as the 2014 World Cup hosts, adding: "The level of the teams is more even than in the past. We try to focus on the same goal. We are all looking forward to taking the national team to the World Cup."
After missing the two opening rounds due to injury, Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero is ready for a starting place on Friday. "The group is fine. We showed our potential in the Chile match and we know what we are able to do on the field," he said. "If we win, we'll be much more confident when we go to Colombia next week. We were unlucky not to win in Venezuela, but if we had scored one of the four or five opportunities we had, the match would have been totally different."
We must get over the Venezuela defeat. Bolivia will not attack us, but we must find the spaces on the field to hurt them.
Argentina and Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta added: "We must be solid in the defensive line. We know we have to correct that."
Bolivia boss Gustavo Quinteros believes keeping Lionel Messi quiet will be the key to his side taking something from their trip to the Estadio Monumental. Quinteros is not yet worried about his side's pointless start in the tournament, but said that blocking Lionel Messi's skills may be crucial to gain at least one point in Buenos Aires.
The coach told Radio La Red that the Barcelona star "is very difficult to control when he has the ball close to his feet" and that his team should not oppose an attacking tactic. "We must control Messi wherever he moves. We have to field a solid, strong, sticky mark," Argentinian-born Quinteros commented.
"If you attack Argentina a lot, it's dangerous. If you let (Sergio) Aguero, Messi or Higuain play, you'll take more risks. If minutes pass and Argentina do not score, they would be desperately going towards the goal, they will take more risks and we must take profit from the opportunities we'd have."