CORDOBA - Trying to mark
Argentina's Lionel Messi is a waste of time so Uruguay will
concentrate on their virtues of grit and self-belief to win
their Copa America quarter-final, coach Oscar Tabarez said on
The great rivals, who hold a joint record of 14 titles in
South America's elite tournament, clash in another "Clasico del
Rio de la Plata" in Santa Fe on Saturday with both
looking to improve on their performances to date.
Argentina came good in their last Group A match when they
beat Costa Rica 3-0. Messi was close to his creative best but is
still without a goal for his country in 15 competitive matches.
"If you have a problem and you don't have the solution, why
worry? Messi can give us a lot of problems which won't go away
whatever we do to try to avoid them," Tabarez told reporters in
"But there are a lot of things we can do that neither Messi
nor anyone else can prevent, those things that are part of the
identity of this squad, of being stubborn, of believing we can [do it]," he said.
Diego Forlan, voted player of the 2010 World Cup where
Uruguay were surprise semi-finalists, has also yet to find the
net and his partnership with Luis Suarez has suffered without
the presence of injured Edinson Cavani, the third man in the
side's attacking triumvirate.
This does not make Messi, who will play a remarkable 66th
match this season, any less wary of the potential Uruguay have
to spoil Argentine ambitions of ending an 18-year wait for a
major title on home soil.
"Forlan is a great player and we all know we can't give him
any room [because] he kicks well with both feet [and] links well
with Suarez," Messi told reporters at Argentina's base camp
outside Buenos Aires.
"Playing against South American national teams is very
difficult, they play with two lines of four... we have to find
a way round that," he added, having struggled with the marking
in Argentina's draws against Bolivia and Colombia.
Dark horses Colombia and Peru play in the second
quarter-final on Saturday. Neither team has enjoyed much success
in recent years.
Peru last reached the World Cup finals in 1982 and finished
bottom of South America's 2010 qualifiers.
Colombia have fared a little better and were the last team
to deny Brazil the Copa America trophy in their only title as
hosts in 2001. They now appear to have the potential to rival
their great 1990s generation, however.
"This [team's] football is quicker than in those days,
because of the players' characteristics but they too have good
technique and tactical discipline," said coach Hernan Dario
Gomez, the link with the sides that went to three World Cups
between 1990 and 1998.
A win for Colombia on Saturday would bring a re-match with
Argentina following their stirring 0-0 draw in the group phase.
Champions Brazil face Paraguay in La Plata on Sunday before
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