Though he has been far less involved in Argentina’s run to the Final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ than he would have liked, Sergio Aguero is still smiling. The injury he sustained in his side’s third and final group match against Nigeria seems a distant memory, and all that matters now is the immediate future and Sunday’s showdown with Germany, with the Trophy at stake.
Understandably happy with life, the Manchester City man spoke with passion as he discussed his feelings ahead of the big game with FIFA. “It’s tough,” he said with a broad smile and wide eyes, collecting his thoughts before continuing. “When you’re a kid you dream of being in this situation, and the dream continues when you play for your club and when you make the national team. Being here is something that stays with you for the rest of your life.”
Reflecting on how close he came to missing out on the tournament altogether, El Kun said: “You always want to start the competition in the best possible condition, but I couldn’t play in the warm-up games because of the injury I picked up against Everton. I was able to recover but the only way you can get match-fit is by playing games. I’ve got injured again here, though it’s not so serious. I’ve recovered from it and now I just want a chance to play in the Final.”
A record to set straight
After sitting out the matches against Switzerland and Belgium, Aguero came on with eight minutes of normal time remaining in the semi-final against the Netherlands and scored in the shootout that sent Argentina into their fifth World Cup Final and their first in 24 years.
Strangely for a player who has struck 21 goals for La Albiceleste and is their ninth-highest scorer of all time, the forward has yet to find the net in seven World Cup matches – three at South Africa 2010 and the four in which he has featured in Brazil. In contrast, Gonzalo Higuain, who has scored the same total as Aguero overall, has amassed five goals in ten FIFA World Cup games.
“I’m going to try my hardest, like I always do, and I’ll try to do what I haven’t been able to in previous games,” said the Argentina No20, touching on that discrepancy.
Aware of his tournament goal drought, Aguero also knows how much expectation and excitement his side’s run is generating back home: “Sometimes you don’t realise because you’re concentrating on your own stuff, but when you see the pictures from back home, you see how big it all is. The fans have been waiting a long time for a performance like this.”
Aguero, who turned 26 earlier in the tournament, knows exactly what lies in store for Argentina at the Maracana on Sunday: “They’ve got quite a few Bayern Munich players who’ve been together for a long time and know each other well. They’re also used to playing finals like this one. They’ve got experience.
“We need to play our game, which is to keep possession of the ball, though we also have to keep a close eye on their counter-attacking game, which is very difficult to stop.”
Whatever threat the Germans carry, Argentina will not be lacking in motivation, as Aguero confirmed: “We have the chance to fulfil a dream that’s within touching distance now. We’re going to give all we’ve got to make it happen and make ourselves happy for the rest of our lives.”