Pekerman ready for Mexico test

23 June 2006 02:48
Argentina will be hoping to maintain the form that has seen them installed as one of the favourites to win the World Cup when they face Mexico in Leipzig's Zentralstadion. Jose Pekerman's side made the rest of the world sit up with a dazzling 6-0 thrashing of Serbia & Montenegro as they secured top spot in Group C, although a subsequent 0-0 draw with the Netherlands was far less impressive. The Dutch stalemate saw several players rested by Pekerman, with first-choice strike pair Hernan Crespo and Javier Saviola certain to return at the expense of Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi. That game also saw defender Nicolas Burdisso pick up a knee injury and Fabricio Coloccini is likely to step in at right-back, while midfielder Esteban Cambiasso is also a major doubt. Coach Pekerman is expecting a hard-fought encounter, saying: "The game will be tough, but we have a lot of ambition in this team and we want to keep going. "The team will go into the match with the same winning attitude as before. They will be strong opponents, but this is the World Cup so every game is difficult." Mexico go into the clash as underdogs, having struggled to progress from Group D along with Portugal. Their cause has been hindered by star striker Jared Borgetti missing the last two games with a thigh problem, and he is still doubtful for the clash with Argentina. General manager Guillermo Cantu confirmed: "He is quite well and improving day by day. I cannot say he is 100 per cent fit because it is the player who has the last word." Midfielder Luis Perez is a definite absentee after his dismissal in the 2-1 defeat by Portugal. The last two meetings between the two sides ended 1-1, while the only previous World Cup clash ended 6-3 to Argentina back in 1930.

Source: ESA