26 June 2016

Argentina desperate to end final hoodoo

Copa America: Only a win will do for Martino

My article for MARCA

Gerardo Martino faced the media ahead Argentina's Copa America Centenario final against Chile making it clear that his side have only one priority going into the game: victory.

The clash is a rematch of last year's final where, just as a year before at the World Cup against Germany, the result was heartbreak for a nation that has now gone 23 years without claiming a major title.

Such a drought is simply unacceptable for a footballing power of their stature, and it's one that all involved are hoping to end in in New Jersey.

"I want to play well, but above all to win," said the former Barcelona manager.

International success is the only thing that's eluded Lionel Messi in his career to date, and Martino believes that everything is in place to help him achieve this one last goal.

"Messi's been doing his stuff for the national team for some time now, there have been far more good moments than not-so-good moments.

"The important thing is that we can give him what he's always had at Barcelona, a settled group that makes him feel happy.

"Martino confirmed that with the exception of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Augusto Fernandez, who both suffered injuries during the 4-0 semi-final demolition of the USA, he will have a full squad to choose from. 

This should see the reintroduction of Angel Di Maria to the starting eleven.

He praised Chile's continued commitment to pressing the opposition but also added that he feels the Albiceleste have improved since their penalty shootout defeat in Santiago last year.

"This is a new chance, we can't rewrite the record from the last time but we have succeeded in dusting ourselves down to be here once again.

"I'm not interested in how, just as long as we win - we cannot fail again."


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