Maradona keeps a level head

26 June 2010 03:00

Argentina coach Diego Maradona refuses to get carried away with the plaudits his side have been earning at the World Cup, pointing out that not long ago they were also considered by some a "disaster" and "the worst team ever".

Argentina, along with Holland, were one of only two sides to progress through the group stages with a 100% record.

But Maradona said: "People were saying we were a disaster, we were the worst team they've ever seen, and now they are saying we are an excellent team. We have the same players as before, so you shouldn't believe what everyone says, just go on working the same way you have been working with the same ideas."

Their tally of seven goals scored was also equal-best with Portugal, who scored all theirs in one match, while only a couple of teams boast a better defensive record, with Maradona's side only conceding once.

It has been an impressive showing from the South American superpowers and their reward for finishing top of Group B is a last-16 clash with Mexico.

However, speaking ahead of that match in Johannesburg on Sunday, Maradona was again keen to temper the expectations surrounding his side, even though he did admit they were in "good shape".

"I keep on saying the others are the favourites. We're here to fight," he said. "We're in good shape, although of course there's always a few small things to solve within the squad.

"It's not easy to go from being nobody in your country and then going on to win three matches and stay focused."

Source: PA