Messi to face former coach’s side in Copa America quarter final
Argentina meets Columbia for Copa America quarter-final, a march that has been termed as must-watch .
It will be a case of a pupil facing up to the master when Lionel Messi leads Argentina against Jose Pekerman’s Colombia in the quarter-final today.
Jose Pekerman will be remembered as the coach who gave Messi his first international appearance 10 years ago while coaching the Argentine team.
Today, and a decade later, Pekerman is coaching a resurgent Colombian side at the 2015 Copa America. He led the Colombia side through the group stage of the Copa America by defeating Brazil and making it through a goalless match with Peru. The teams attacking skills have received accolades from the fans.
An optimistic Pekerman told a news conference in Vina del Mar that his team has all it takes to beat Messi’s team.
“We hope that it will be a very appealing and important game. They’re two teams who can play very well. As a spectator, I am very inspired to see these two teams in a match, in the drive they have, the significance of the match and the individual strengths of the soccer players they have,” he said.
But with James and Falcao still to shine at the tournament, Colombia’s soccer stars have not yet lived up to their billing in the tournament so far.
“With respect to Argentina and their idea of play we have a response as well, to battle as equals for the ball and to be an offensive side that can hurt Argentina,” added Pekerman.
In the group stage, Messi failed to bring on his magic, especially against teams considered as easy opponents.
Argentine coach Gerardo Martino has been quoted admitting that the team’s style of play has seen it run some risks.
“Our decision to play in a certain way has made us run some risks. This is evident when in front of players of a standard such as Colombia. From one half of the field onwards these risks are deepened because there is a single hierarchy that we follow and we rightly try to minimise the margin of error. We can be stars in the game without suffering from defence anxieties,” said Martino.
Argentina’s preparations come at a somber time for the team as legend Diego Maradona mourns the death of his father Don Diego after heart and respiratory problems.
The Argentine team Coach Martino passed on his condolences to the Argentine legend on behalf of his side.
“On behalf of the team, condolences to Diego and his family. Even from far away everyone in the team is with him,” said Martino.
Tonight’s game will be the ninth time in the history of Copa America that Argentina and Colombia clash.
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