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Peru ready for young Mexicans' assault at Copa America
Published : 08 Jul 2011 08:00:06
Peru say they think Mexico's young side are a Copa America threat and won't be treating El Tri with kid gloves in Friday's Group C showdown.
With Chile having seen off the Mexicans in their first match, the latter, regular special guests at the South American jamboree, have it all to do, particularly as they have left many of their top names such as Chicharito behind after landing the CONCACAF Gold Cup last month.
The juniors made a gifted Chile side fight all the way for a come-from-behind 2-1 win on Monday.
And Friday in Mendoza the Blanquirroja say they expect a tough encounter with a quarter-final place at stake.
The Peruvians took heart from their own draw in their Copa America opener against fancied Uruguay - but their coach Sergio Markarian and winger Juan Vargas are wary of a Mexican backlash.
"It may not be the best team but they still have good players," Markarian told reporters as he looked ahead to their meeting at the Malvinas stadium 1,000 kilometres (60 miles) west of Buenos Aires.
"Mexico have a good team - they are not a bunch of unknowns. They are pretty much all first division players," was how Vargas saw his rivals.
On the plus side for the Peruvians, who have a poor recent record having won the last of their two titles back in 1975, Vargas himself appeared to be over the leg injury he suffered in the 1-1 draw with Uruguay.
Fiorentina's Vargas, a key man for the Peruvians, says he respects the Mexicans as he plots how to get the better of defensive pairing Hector Reynoso and Paul Aguilar whom Markarian described as "the best there are in their positions in Mexico (while) Giovanni Dos Santos is an international name."
Referring to his right thigh injury Vargas said he was feeling fit and ready to feature "for 90 minutes" if Markarian calls on him.
"The injury is behind me - if they want me on from the start I'll be in the same condition as the others," he insisted.
Mexico striker Rafael Marquez Lugo meanwhile dubbed the game a "do or die encounter" after their opening loss left them bottom of the group.
"We absolutely have to win this one if we are to have a chance of reaching the next stage. "We must beat Peru," Morelia striker told reporters at a news conference at Benavidez, north of Buenos Aires.
Reynoso of Chivas for his part forecast a "very tough and a very intense match."