“We had a change of mentality and game above all, we were more mobile, Messi brilliant and I’m satisfied with the commitment and play of the team which is what we’re looking for,” coach Sergio Batista said. Argentina will learn later on Tuesday who they will meet in the quarter-finals on Saturday. But Batista told a news conference: “We have players to face any national team”. “We did it against Costa Rica who until a short while ago were a fantastic team who played very well but you also have to look at Argentina, because what they did was very good”. “Today we changed our tactics a bit giving Lionel the right side” said Batista. “We bet on three forwards and it worked, we got our organisation sorted and we played the game we want.”
The old enemies met in the last two finals of South America’s top football tournament, with Brazil upsetting the favourites twice, but with home advantage at the July 1-24 event Argentina hope to win the trophy for the first time since 1993. While Argentina have Messi, fast emerging as Diego Maradona‘s heir, at the heart of their attack, Brazil have their own brilliant player in Neymar, a potential new Pele who has already helped Santos win the Copa Libertadores at 19. “It is our obligation to win the tournament,” said Argentina coach Sergio Batista, who plays the high-scoring Messi in a roving centre forward role akin to his flexible position at Barcelona. Argentina open the world’s oldest active major football tournament at the modern, roofed Ciudad de La Plata stadium on Friday when they take on Bolivia in Group A. They have a score to settle, having been thrashed 6-1 the last time they met in a World Cup qualifier at high altitude in La Paz two years ago during Maradona’s time as coach.