BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) ― Having relied on Lionel Messi for most of its goals so far at this World Cup, Argentina is planning to find new ways of scoring in its second-round match against Switzerland on Tuesday.
Messi carried Argentina through the group stage, scoring four of its goals. The other two came from an own goal and left back Marcos Rojo.
With Sergio Aguero missing Tuesday’s match because of a left thigh injury, the Group F winners are looking to Ezequiel Lavezzi to step in ― a challenge that assistant coach Claudio Gugnali said the Paris Saint-Germain forward is ready for.
“He’s a very powerful player and is in a great moment,” Gugnali said. “He finished his club season very well. He has been asking to be on the pitch since he came (to Brazil). I don’t have any doubts that he will know how to take advantage of his opportunities.”
Lavezzi usually attacks down the wings, but also drops back to work in partnership with Argentina’s midfielders. The team will have to adapt its tactical formation a bit if Lavezzi starts.
Argentina is also wary of Switzerland’s attack and will have to shore up its shaky defense to deal with threats that include winger Xherdan Shaqiri, who scored a hat trick against Honduras in the final Group E match.
“Switzerland works very well on the flanks and attacks down the wings,” Gugnali said. “It’s going to be a very intense match.”
Switzerland also beat Ecuador in the group stage, but was overrun by France in a 5-2 defeat.