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Rediff.com  » Sports » Argentina hope to avoid shock in Elephants Graveyard

Argentina hope to avoid shock in Elephants Graveyard

July 06, 2011 12:39 IST

The 'Elephants Graveyard' has played host to a string of major upsets through the years and Argentina are determined not to become the next giant to fall there when they face Colombia in the Copa America on Wednesday.

Argentina, the tournament hosts and favourites, were held to a 1-1 draw against Bolivia in La Plata in their Group A opener and need a win at Colon's stadium (0045GMT Thursday) to get their campaign back on track.

Lionel Messi was kept quiet by a well-organised Bolivian defence and Argentina needed a late equaliser from Sergio Aguero to save their blushes.

Argentina's Lionel Messi arrives at the Colon hotel in Santa Fe city on TuesdayArgentina have suffered upsets by Colombia in the past in World Cup qualifiers and the Copa America, and the ground, officially known as the Brigadier Estanislao Lopez stadium, has been the site of some of Colon's great shocks in club soccer.

Argentina coach Sergio Batista acknowledged the pressure on his team after their opening draw.

"The national team always has pressure, the more so now with the obligation of winning after the draw," he said after arriving in Santa Fe with his squad on Tuesday.

Batista hopes his tactics work better against Colombia than they did against Bolivia when Messi was drawn deep into midfield to get possession.

"Messi had a good first half but when we gets disorganised maybe he gets lost," Batista told a news conference.

"Even if we'd won, there were things that needed correcting and working on ... That concerned me, we didn't play the way we had in friendlies."

Colombia coach Hernan Dario Gomez said he would not let the big names in the Argentina team distract him.

"Out of respect, I base myself on an improvement in my team because if I start thinking about Argentina I'll go crazy. How do I mark Messi, (Carlos) Tevez, Aguero, (Angel) Di Maria?" he told a news conference at his team's practice.

"I don't know how to mark Messi. It's very difficult. What we do have are support lines, back-up, work we can put into action."

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