Argentina coach Jorge SAMPAOLI as well as Ever BANEGA held a press conference on Friday ahead of the Round of 16 match.
It was the birthday boy Ever BANEGA who today turns 30 and coach Jorge SAMPAOLI who represented the team at the press conference. SAMPAOLI spoke about the line-up, Lionel MESSI, the team and more. Here’s what he had to say:
“I haven’t confirmed the starting line-up to the players. We are very confident in our capabilities and the preparation we’ve had. It’s a team that will play the match with a lot of heart.
“We train different things for the match. I told MESSI that we were going to use a plan which we had already trained, a more offensive one. We are in the process of imposing an Argentinean style of play.
“If we defend without the ball, the capabilities of our players will be less than the rival. We will try to dominate the match by having possession of the ball.”
The coach also spoke about France who will want to neutralize Lionel MESSI.
“France has a plan to neutralize Leo (MESSI) and we have a plan to better that. They will try to live off our lack of precision during the game. They will try to force errors.
“France’s great strength is the speed in which they transition. Defensively, they are very solid when they recover the ball and attack quickly. After that, they get a lot of goals within three or four touches.”
Jorge SAMPAOLI praised MESSI and stated that we will see a fighting Argentina as he used a phrase made famous by Diego SIMEONE.
“We have to be at his (Lionel MESSI’s) level at all times. MESSI sees things that only a genius can see.
“Argentina will play with a knife in between their teeth. I dream of seeing an Argentina with a lot of passion but above all with a lot of football. In this group, the feeling for the shirt is very strong. That makes this team very dangerous for anyone.”
And finally, SAMPAOLI spoke about himself:
“The analysis of the match will have to do with the results. I’ll be an excelent coach if we win and if we lose, I’ll be a very bad one. I’ve come to a place I wanted to come. I am very happy to be here and fight every day.”
Birthday boy Ever BANEGA had this to say in regards to his assist to Lionel MESSI’s goal against Nigeria:
“With respect to the pass to MESSI’s goal, all I had to do was raise my head to cross the ball. He did all the rest. It’s always a pleasure to play next to Leo MESSI. We know how he is as a player.”
As for the team, BANEGA hopes the team can get better:
“Hopefully we can continue to get better. I always try and bring my best. I’ve played a lot of years in Europe and I’ve gained a lot of experience. It was difficult for us but luckily we were able to win.”
Here’s Ever BANEGA’s assist to Lionel MESSI’s goal from a different angle.