Lionel Messi is convinced Argentina will beat Uruguay in Montevideo and book the final automatic South American berth in next summer’s World Cup finals.
The Charruas and the Albicelestes will go head to head to decide who clinches qualification and who will progress to a play-off against a CONCACAF nation – or worse, miss out altogether.
Diego Maradona’s Argentina will play in South Africa if they win or draw, barring an extraordinary performance by Ecuador at already-qualified Chile, while defeat could eliminate them should Ecuador win. Uruguay Must win to overhaul Argentina.
Messi said: ”We’ll play at the World Cup. We are risking everything in the last qualifier. I trust in my national team. We’ll do our best to clinch a win there, even though it won’t be an easy game.”
Maradona has already announced that Gonzalo Higuain and Martin Palermo, who scored the goals in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Peru, will not both start, with the Real Madrid striker looking the more likely to start.
Maradona said: ”Palermo and Higuain together? No. It is one of them. One or the other. They will play together only if we need to score to win.
”Our chances of progressing to the World Cup are intact. We must go to Uruguay to fight for our qualification. We’ll do that with pride.”
Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez, meanwhile, will send his side out with a do-or-die attitude.
”Winning is what matters,” he said. ”We’ll try to win. We respect Argentina, but we need the three points.”
Tabarez will try to keep his mind off the clash between Chile and Ecuador in Santiago, which could yet decide their fate should they fail to beat Argentina.
”We’ll not be thinking of what is going on in Chile,” he said. ”Chile will try to win to give joy to their supporters at home. We must win. A draw is the same than losing. We must win.”
Diego Forlan, who scored a penalty winner in added time in the crucial 2-1 win in Ecuador on Saturday, admitted he is shocked that Argentina have not already qualified.
”It is surprising, but this is the result of a number of matches in which they didn’t get the result they expected,” he said. ”Argentina are one of the best teams in the world, but there are no advantages on the field.
”It is the match I’ve always dreamt of. I want to play at the World Cup and it is up to us.”
courtesy of espnsoccernet.com