Mex­ico will ‘play to the death’

Weekend Witness - - Sport -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — Mex­ico will be look­ing to avenge their de­feat at the 2006 World Cup fi­nals when­they­take on two-time win­ners Ar­gentina to­mor­row for a place in the World Cup quar­ter-fi­nals.

Four years ago in Ger­many, the teams met at the same Round of 16 stage and a stun­ning ex­tra time goal by Maxi Ro­driguez sealed a 1-0 win for Ar­gentina, who later went out to hosts Ger­many in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

Ar­gentina and Mex­ico meet again at Soc­cer City to­mor­row and Mex­i­can mid­fielder Ger­ardo Tor­rado in­sists his team will “play to the death” to beat their il­lus­tri­ous op­po­nents, coached by Diego Maradona.

In pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters, Ar­gentina have 11 wins com­pared to Mex­ico’s four with 10 games drawn and Javier Aguirre’s Mex­ico side will need to pull some­thing spe­cial from the bag to cre­ate an up­set.

Ar­gentina strug­gled with an un­con­vinc­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion cam­paign for this World Cup, but, since their ar­rival in South Africa, have looked im­pres­sive with three wins in Group B plac­ing them as ti­tle favourites.

But the 31-year-old Mex­i­can cap­tain Tor­rado says his side will set out to claim the prized scalp of Maradona’s side. “We have an en­counter ahead which we have to en­dure, but we will play to the death to win it,” he said on FIFA.com.

Mex­ico are hope­ful 21year-old Arse­nal striker Car­los Vela will be fit for the match as he re­turns to train­ing af­ter a ham­string in­jury, hav­ing missed the 1-0 de­feat to Uruguay in their last Group A game.

Ar­gentina’s at­tack­ing prow­ess is with­out ques­tion, es­pe­cially in Gon­zalo Higuain, who scored a hat-trick against South Korea, but they are more sus­cep­ti­ble at the back.

— Sapa-AFP.

PHOTO: AP

RIGHT: Lionel Messi is due a

goal in the tour­na­ment.

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