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Argentina put players on spot in practice

Written by: Staff

HERZOGENAURACH, Germany, June 29 (Reuters) Argentina ended their practice today shooting penalties but coach Jose Pekerman said they aim to win their World Cup quarter-final against hosts Germany without having to go to a shootout.

''We're not thinking of getting to the penalties,'' Pekerman said when asked if he already had five names in mind if a shootout were necessary to decide tomorrow's match in Berlin.

Pekerman told a news conference that although Germany have home advantage, both teams go into the game as favourites.

''We are facing a team with a lot of goal power who are quick to go from defence into attack,'' he said.

''And that's how they defend, they retreat very quickly with their midfielders.'' Pekerman said Argentina needed to quickly find a balance in the game if they wanted to take control.

''If we dominate up front we may be short of space, if we sit deep we'll be a long way from goal. We have to be intelligent and orderly, that's why it's important to get to the match in the best shape to develop that idea.

SEVERAL FAVOURITES ''It's true that Germany are very good shooting from middle and long distance and we'll have to prepare for that over and above the game we want to play,'' he said.

Asked if the winners of the Berlin match could consider their way was clear to the title, Pekerman said: ''Obviously, we're playing a big game between two title favourites and it's a shame that one of them won't go further even after doing good things at the World Cup.

''But we need to be careful because there are other good teams.

There's France ... and Portugal-England is another important match, without even mentioning Brazil, who were favourites before the start and continue to be so.'' Pekerman was not happy to consider that Argentina had achieved their objective in reaching the last eight.

''I've always said we have to fight to be the champions. I thought that with the junior teams and also as a fan, we mustn't think of anything else,'' said Pekerman, who won three World Youth Cup titles with Argentina's under-20s.


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