Underdog tag helps Argentina, claims Aguero
Argentina striker Sergio Aguero believes his side will relish the tag of underdogs when they face Germany in the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. The two sides' contrasting routes to the final has made Joachim Loew's men heavy favourites to win the World Cup for a fourth time as they smashed hosts Brazil 7-1 in their semi-final, whilst Argentina only squeezed past the Netherlands on a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014
"Germany were always the favourites, along with Brazil, to win the World Cup," the Manchester City man said on Thursday. "They continue to be so now. We need to play our own game and it suits us that all the pressure is on them." Argentina's road back to the final for the first time in 24 years has unexpectantly come on the back of a solid defensive record as their fearsome attack, including four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, has failed to hit top form.
And Aguero is aware they may have to withstand plenty of pressure from the Germans once more at the Maracana. "We are in the final and we have to play it and win it in whatever way possible. "We want to have control of the ball, but we know that Germany is a great team that know each other off by heart having played together for many years.
"It is clear that Argentina always go out to win, but sometimes during the game you have to be cautious. We are all aware of what the objective is and we will leave everything on the field to achieve it." And former Liverpool Maxi Rodriguez insisted Argentina were capable of beating anyone on their day. "Germany is a very strong, aggressive opponent, but if we are at our best we can beat anyone.
"What I am interested in is leaving as a champion. It is the dream all Argentines have." Aguero made his return to action for the final 40 minutes against the Dutch after missing the last 16 and quarter-final victories over Switzerland and Belgium respectively due to injury. The 26-year-old struggled to get into the game, though, and admits it is difficult to recover full fitness in the middle of such an intense tournament.
"When you come back from an injury, it is always in the back of your mind whether it will return," added Aguero. "I had to train and try to be as good as I could be. When you miss three games, especially in a World Cup, you realise what you are missing." Argentina are hopeful of recovering another key player from injury in time for the final as Angel di Maria returned to light training on Thursday. The Real Madrid midfielder missed the semi-final due to a thigh injury. "Di Maria trained at between 60 and 80 percent on the pitch," said Argentina team spokesman Andres Ventura. "His progress is obvious. He will be observed over the next few days to see if he will be fit."