Lionel Messi is wary of the threat posed by Paraguay as Argentina bid to extend their five-match winning streak in tomorrow night's FIFA World Cup™ qualifier.
The Albiceleste's run of victories has taken in qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia, lifting them to third place in the group. They lie a point behind Uruguay, who take on Colombia tomorrow, and two behind leaders Chile, who are not in action. "Paraguay will be very difficult opponents but we must get the job done at home," Messi warned.
Goalkeeper Sergio Romero agreed: "Paraguay maybe are the most difficult adversaries we had in the past: we lost the last two matches we played in Asuncion and had to battle hard to rescue a draw at home."
Paraguay will be very difficult opponents but we must get the job done at home.
Head coach Alejandro Sabella has had to deal with injuries in the build-up to the game, with Manchester City star Sergio Aguero and Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini both unavailable for both tomorrow's match and Tuesday's clash with Peru.
Aguero's City team-mate Pablo Zabaleta is also doubtful with a hamstring strain, with Napoli's Hugo Campagnaro on standby to replace him. Leandro Desabato of Estudiantes La Plata will replace Coloccini while Aguero's absence creates a vacancy for Paris St Germain's Ezequiel Lavezzi in attack.
Messi said: "Despite the changes, the group is always as strong and that's a good thing."
Paraguay have yet to win away from home during the qualifying campaign, but midfielder Victor Ayala believes if they can keep Barcelona star Messi under wraps, they can spring a surprise in Cordoba. The Lanus player said: "Without Messi, Argentina is not much better than us. If we can control him our chances will surely improve."
A defensive visiting line-up will look to Malaga new boy Roque Santa Cruz and Cerro Porteno's Jonathan Fabbro for goals. It will be a particularly noteworthy occasion for the latter, with the 30-year-old making his competitive international debut against the country of his birth.