Havana, June 16 (IANS) Argentine star Lionel Messi on Wednesday was respectful of Venezuela, ahead of their quarter-final clash in the Copa America Centernario.
Messi said: “Venezuela is a complicated rival. If the team got here, it is because they deserve to be here. Venezuela comes from a very complicated group and almost finished top.”
The victory against Bolivia allowed Argentina to finish as leader of Group D with a perfect record including 10 goals in favour and one against. They will face Venezuela, the second place of Group C, but Messi prefers to be cautious, reports Xinhua.
“We have to prepare the game as we always do, to try to keep the same level because we are going to face a tough rival,” Messi added.
Meanwhile, Argentina coach Gerardo Martino said facing Venezuela in the quarter-finals marks “the beginning of a decisive stage” of the regional tournament.
“Venezuela played a great match (against Mexico). They have lots of strengths and great players. A decisive stage will begin, where teams are forced to win if they want to stay alive. We hope to be at the right level,” Martino said.
The game against Venezuela will be played on Saturday at Foxborough Stadium in Massachusetts.