Argentina head coach Jorge Sampaoli says he has “complete faith” in the ability of his team to overovercome France in their round of 16 clash of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup on Saturday.
The two-time world champions looked in real danger of crashing out at the group stage before a dramatic 2-1 victory over Nigeria saw them through to the last 16 as runners-up behind Croatia.
But Sampaoli is confident his players are well motivated ahead of the big clash.
“We have complete faith in our abilities. Argentina is very strong psychologically and this will allow us to face the match with complete commitment. You will see a team which will have a lot of motivation to win,” Sampaoli said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Following reports about restiveness in the Argentine camp, Sampaoli insists the squad is united.
“We are talking about training a good set of professionals. We need to know how to overcome the challenging moments which always emerge in these competitions,” he said.
“Regardless of what happens, we need to keep fighting. We have been demanding in our preparations and very committed with the entire squad to give their best performance.”
The former Sevilla boss moved to clarify what happened on the touchline during the Nigeria game, where video footage appeared to show the manager asking Lionel Messi whether Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero should be sent on.
“We looked at different options in an important game and had to make a decision.
“I was simply communicating this, saying that we were going to use one of the strategies we had rehearsed to use more attacking players.”