Aguero looking to start for Argentina

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Aguero looking to start for Argentina

PRETORIA - Young Argentina forward Sergio “Kun” Aguero is looking forward to a first start at the World Cup, as coach Diego Maradona is expected to make sweeping changes to his team.

Barring a disaster, Argentina should secure qualification for the knockout stages following today’s final Group B match against Greece. Having beaten Nigeria (1-0) and South Korea (4-1) the South Americans must avoid a three-goal defeat to ensure they stay above the Greeks, which would guarantee them qualification.

If they lose by one or two goals, only a heavy South Korea defeat of Nigeria could prevent them from topping the group.

According to some observers at training, Maradona played a team with seven changes from that which started against the Koreans.

Veteran midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron is fit to return from an injury he suffered in the 1-0 opener against Nigeria.

The suspension of wing-back Jonas Gutierrez and bookings for Gabriel Heinze and captain Javier Mascherano mean Maradona’s focus is also on defensive changes as he looks to clinch first place and stay near Johannesburg for the second round.

And while Aguero, whose girlfriend Giannina is Maradona’s daughter, did not reveal the team, he did shed some light on his own participation.

He said he is likely to play alongside star forward Lionel Messi with Inter Milan striker Diego Milito also expected to get the nod.

“Leo [Messi] and I have known each other for quite a while, we played some matches together in 2005 [in the World under-20 Championships in Holland],” he said.

“We understand each other pretty well. In the training Diego [Maradona] told me he’d pair me with Leo.”

Aguero also denied that such a move - playing a virtual reserve team - would be showing disrespect to Greece or the competition.

“We’re all first choice. Since the beginning of the World Cup we’ve been preparing to show a good image when we enter the field,” he said about the players coming in to the team.

“We will do everything we can to top the group, after that we’re not thinking about anyone else.

“I don’t care if we get Mexico, Uruguay or France [in the last 16]. Mexico and Uruguay have the best possibilities but I don’t care who we get.”

The 22-year-old also said that a game against opponents who know that even a win might not be enough for them to progress, could play into Argentine hands.

“Greece will go onto the pitch giving everything to win because otherwise they are out, but we will continue to play as we did against Nigeria and Korea,” added Aguero.

“If Greece attacks us then we can hurt them on the counterattack, but the key will be to have the ball as we did in our other games.”

And the Atletico Madrid star, a reported target for some of the English Premier League’s biggest and richest clubs, insisted that having so many star players actually helps the Argentines.

“Everyone respects us, everyone knows that we have Messi, [Carlos] Tevez, [Gonzalo] Higuain, Milito, me and [Martin] Palermo, this helps us because we can play with more confidence.”

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