Venezuela keen to test Argentina in Friday friendly

August 31st, 2011 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 31 (IANS) Undaunted by the “underdog” tag, Venezuela were all keyed up to test their strength against Lionel Messi-led Argentina here Friday ahead of the soccer World Cup qualifiers between the two sides Oct 14.

Venezuelan head coach Cesar Farias underlined the importance of the FIFA official international friendly stating that a high profile opponent like Argentina always intensified the desire to perform.

“A game like this involves lot of prestige. That makes it important. This friendly match is not a friendly for us. Everytime you play against Argentina, you want to see the team in very good form,” Farias said.

“We will play the game on Friday with the intention to win because we intend to use the game for preparation… This is an opportunity to check where the team stands before our Oct 14 qualifier,” he added.

The Venezuelans finished as the surprise pack in the recent Copa America tourney, where they took the fourth spot and even beat formidable Brazil.

“We are traditionally known as the Cinderella team back in South America. But now the scenario has changed. Our soccer is growing at a good pace,” Farias said.

The 38-year-old Farias said his team would pay attention to the strengths of star-studded Argentina, but emphasised that soccer was more a team agame than one of individual heroics.

He also cautioned Argentina - world number nine team - that they should also be worried of the class of Venezuelans.

“You can’t hide the fact that Messi is a great player. But football is a team game, we have been working to be a cohesive unit. We have our attention on the strengths of Argentina. But we are focussing more on our strengths.”

“And yes, we do have to worry about the Argentine players, but they also have to worry about our (Nicholas) Fedor, (Jose Salomon) Rondon and (Hector) Gonzalez.”

While the Argentines seemed a bit apprehensive about the Salt Lake stadium’s artificial turf on which they have never played, Farias seemed unperturbed.

“We have played on artificial turfs before. We did play Colombia in New York seven months back and Mexico too on artificial turf. So it won’t be a problem,” asserted a confident Farias.

Farias is expecting a good and entertaining match on Friday.

“The match will be a good one and enjoyable for those who turn up in numbers on Friday,” he said.

Farias has retained his job since 2007, very unlike other Latin American coaches who are sacked after every poor performance.

“Coaches of football teams always keep their luggage outside the door. The deal is unless you show results, you can’t continue. Fortunately we had good results the four years this coaching team has been in the job. Correct behaviour allowed us to retain our place,” he said.

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