When Argentina and Paraguay face each other in Barquisimeto on Thursday night they will be playing not just to win but to avoid having to face a resurgent Mexico, according to Mexican manager Hugo Sanchez.
Mexico won Group B ahead of Brazil and are unbeaten so far in the tournament. Their opponent in next Sunday’s quarter final will be the loser of the Paraguay-Argentina tie. If the two sides draw, Paraguay win the group on goal difference and will face Peru, leaving Argentina to face Mexico.
“They don’t want to take on Mexico because we are demonstrating that we are a difficult side to beat,” Sanchez said. “The team that takes on Mexico will have to do things right if they want to beat us because in general we are getting better at everything, we are focused.”
“The group is more compact, more together, more harmonious and we are being recognised and valued for that and I am convinced that Paraguay and Argentina do not wish to face México,” he added.
Nevertheless, the former Real Madrid goalscorer admitted that his side was a long way from the finished article and that they were especially prone to giving the ball away. Sanchez said Mexico, who were poor in last month’s Gold Cup, had set a goal of reaching the semi-finals.
“We want to reach the semifinals so we are in with a chance of fighting for the title but we’ll take it step by step. We have to wait and see who our next rival is, whoever it is it will be difficult because these games are all or nothing. You win or you go home.”