Argentina’s Javier Maschernano acknowledged his team-mates’ frustrations at failing to hit the heights thus far in the Copa America as they prepare to face Colombia in the last eight on Friday.
Gerardo Martino’s side scored just four goals on their way to topping Group B, despite boasting arguably the tournament’s finest forward line, but face a Colombia side who have found the target just once in three outings.
With defending champions Uruguay bowing out and Brazil shorn of suspended captain Neymar, Argentina’s hopes have been bolstered in recent days.
A potential semi-final meeting with Brazil awaits Martino’s men, although the former Barcelona coach will be keen for the World Cup finalists to find top gear against the competition’s tightest defence.
“Football is about knowing what each situation requires,” Mascherano explained.
“It’s not easy when you go, you go forward and you find two lines of five. When you are looking to create this is much more difficult to break down.
“When you try to create and every attempt fails, you can get down but it takes patience and conviction and playing even if it costs.
“We have the players to do well.”
In the Colombia camp, Jose Pekerman will likely consider his attacking options, having seen Radamel Falcao continue to misfire during Sunday’s goalless draw with Peru.
Teo Gutierrez and Carlos Bacca have both been selected to partner the Monaco man up front to no avail, although Pekerman remains under pressure to restore James Rodriguez to the central playmaking role in which he flourished at the World Cup.
Victor Ibarbo – whose team-mate Edwin Valencia misses out with a knee injury – explained this week that Colombia will take collective responsibility for their shortcomings in front of goal.
“We will be prepared for everything and when we play we will respond in the best way,” he said.
“The team is like a family and everyone is in agreement that it doesn’t matter who scores because this is a collective process.
“The nice thing about this group is that they are all available for what the coach requires. Argentina are an excellent team, one of the favourites to win the Copa.
“They make only a small amount of errors and we must seize on them if we are to get a result.”
Colombia have beaten Argentina just once in their last 11 meetings – a 2-1 victory in World Cup qualifying in Bogota eight years ago, Ruben Bustos and Dayro Moreno overturning Lionel Messi’s opener.
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