Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza wants his side to focus on a World Cup qualifying victory against Chile on Thursday, rather than seeking revenge for their Copa America defeats.
Chile have beaten Argentina in the last two Copa America finals, both times on penalties, but Bauza’s men cannot afford to take their eye off the ball with their status at the 2018 World Cup in peril.
FIFA’s top-ranked side are currently fifth in South American qualifying, with only the top four progressing to the tournament automatically, and Bauza knows Argentina must be on their game against Chile to secure a crucial three points.
“I’ve said to the players that there is no revenge element [from the Copa America],” he told a pre-match news conference.
“It’s a hard qualification game, as is the one that we will play in La Paz [against Bolivia on Tuesday], which is very important for us.
“So we have to step aside from this thought. Because for us to win, we have to play well, plan for the match and study the rival.
“We know that we are playing against a fine team, we know its potential, but we have to think about what we have to do and not about other things.”
And Bauza believes that the qualification table will begin to take its true form across the next two matches as sides close in on the finals in Russia.
“I think that these games are very important, not just for Argentina but for all,” he continued. “If you see the group table, it’s very tight with five teams close together, so the one that can get the most from these games will have a great chance to qualify.
“That’s why I give these games the utmost importance, not just to the one against Chile but also the [Bolivia] match. We will start defining the places for the next World Cup.”
Argentina trail both Chile and Ecuador by a point after 12 games, with Colombia a point behind Bauza’s men.
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