Argentina are ready to banish last year’s memories of World Cup heartache and help “the world’s best player” Lionel Messi to Copa America glory, according to team-mate Ezequiel Garay.
A Mario Gotze goal seven minutes from the end of extra time in the 2014 World Cup final sparked jubilation for Germany and despair for Argentina just under 12 months ago.
Gerardo Martino’s men are tipped to end their 22-year wait for Copa America title success in Chile when the tournament gets under way later this month, and Zenit defender Garay is raring to go.
“The hurt of not winning the World Cup last year is still there,” he said. “We were so close but we fell just short.
“It was very tough for us all to take. Not just for us but for all of Argentina who were supporting us during the tournament. We are confident now though.”
Messi could arrive at the Copa America having won the treble this season depending on how Barcelona fare in this weekend’s UEFA Champions League final against Juventus.
The playmaker is far from the only member of Argentina’s Copa squad to have enjoyed a successful 2014-15, with the likes of Juve duo Carlos Tevez and Roberto Pereyra and Paris Saint-Germain pair Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore also winning domestic titles.
Garay said: “Many players have hit their goals this year with their clubs and we have to take advantage of that.
“And of course we know we have the world’s best player in our squad. We have to help him out and then we might become champions.”
Argentina’s Copa campaign starts against Paraguay a week on Saturday.