- POSTED: 30 Jun 2014 03:06
After five misses in the World Cup's first penalty shootout, Argentina wisely practised spot-kicks on Sunday before flying to Sao Paulo for their last-16 clash with Switzerland.
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil: After five misses in the World Cup's first penalty shootout, Argentina wisely practised spot-kicks on Sunday before flying to Sao Paulo for their last-16 clash with Switzerland.
The South Americans are heavily favoured to beat the Swiss on Tuesday, but underdogs have been making a mark in Brazil so coach Alejandro Sabella clearly aims to leave nothing to chance.
Attackers Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Angel Di Maria, joined by midfielder Javier Mascherano and defender Martin Demichelis, all practised penalties against goalkeeper Sergio Romero at their Belo Horizonte training camp.
They were no doubt mindful of Saturday's drama nearby when five players missed penalties during Brazil's 3-2 shootout victory over Chile after a 1-1 draw in normal and extra time.
Argentina have been involved in four World Cup penalty shootouts, winning three, against Yugoslavia and Italy in 1990, and England in 1998. They lost against Germany in 2006.
The South Americans are based at local club Atletico Mineiro's training camp just outside Belo Horizonte.
Blue-and-white motivational banners have been set up around the spacious and heavily-guarded complex.
"The dream is the path, victory the destination," reads one.
"Twenty-three travel, 40 million push for the final," readers another.
Argentina's only major problem for the game against Switzerland is the absence of striker Sergio Aguero, who has a muscle injury in his left leg.
"The Manchester City forward continues rehabilitation," the team said in a statement.
Lavezzi looks sure to take his place for the Switzerland game, though the Argentine coaching staff are hoping Aguero might be better for future matches should they progress.
Argentina are dreaming of a third World Cup title, which would be especially sweet if achieved on the soil of their great South American rivals Brazil.
They were due to fly to Sao Paulo in the evening.