Aguirre aims to silence doubters

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Mexico coach Javier Aguirre is determined to prove wrong those who predict his side are "dead and gone" even before kick-off in their World Cup last 16 encounter with Argentina.

El Tricolor are outsiders to progress to the quarter-finals against Diego Maradona's star-studded line-up, but Aguirre hopes he can spring a surprise to upset the odds at Soccer City on Sunday night.

"Nobody is betting a bottom dollar on us, the analysts are saying we're dead and gone. We will see," said a defiant Aguirre.

"I think Mexico are nobody's favourites, they don't believe we have a possibility (to win) but we will see after the 90 minutes whether we can change history. Argentina won four years ago and there were no more encounters so we will have to keep our euphoria low and correct the statistics, and see what the betting is (after the match)."

Aguirre was referring to the sides' meeting at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, also in the last 16, which Argentina won 2-1 after extra-time thanks to a stunning volley from midfielder Maxi Rodriguez, now with Liverpool.

Mexico will be boosted by the return to fitness of Arsenal forward Carlos Vela after a hamstring injury kept him out of their final Group A match against Uruguay.

Asked how his team would try to contain the threat of Barcelona star Messi, Aguirre simply said: "He is the best player in the world. Let's see whether we are able to control him."

Although his attitude to the match was clearly deadly serious, his mood did lighten when he was asked to talk about his Argentina counterpart Maradona.

"We played as players against each other, he is a great friend and a great coach. We saw each other in Madrid quite a few times with his daughter (who is married to Atletico striker Sergio Aguero), he is a great coach. I will give him a big hug and congratulate him on what he has done at this World Cup so far and wish him luck."

Aguirre is aiming to make history against Argentina. Mexico have never gone beyond the last 16 at any World Cup played away from Mexican soil, and have gone out of the last four tournaments at this stage.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Maxi Rodriguez
Premier League

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