Argentine soccer coach Sergio Batista has identified Colombia as his nation’s biggest rivals in Group 1 of the Copa America, dismissing ex-Colombian star Carlos Valderrama’s criticisms of the Colombia national team, Goal.com reported.
“Our direct rival [for the group top spot] is Colombia. We know how they play and they will be difficult for Argentina,” said the coach in a press conference, before seeing his team swipe away Albania 4-0 with goals from illustrious stars Lavezzi, Messi, Aguero and Tevez. Messi was in ominously imperious form, providing two assists besides his goal.
Batista singled out Colombia’s potent attacking force for praise, which features Europa League record-breaking hero Radamel Falcao, as well as the recent joint-top scorer in the Argentine league Teofilo Gutierrez.
Colombia’s most internationally revered star of all time, Carlos Valderrama, recently criticized the lack of creativity in the team, particularly after Gutierrez’s club team mate Giovanni Moreno was ruled out through injury.
Batista played down these criticisms, however, stating that “If Colombia wait around for another Valderrama, it will be very difficult; Carlos was an extraordinary player, the type which does not come around often. I don’t know if the tactical change will hurt or help them, the results will tell us that,” he pointed out, adding that “They have very good players, as they always do.”