Argentina woe not Messi's fault, says Mascherano

AFP, Friday 8 Jul 2011

Argentina skipper Javier Mascherano said Friday the team's poor Copa America form was a team problem and not the fault of world player of the year Lionel Messi.

Argentina's Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano

Messi has failed to have any impact as the hosts have drawn dismally with Bolivia and then Colombia to compromise hopes of reaching the quarter-fnials.

But Barcelona teammate Mascherano insists that the whole squad must look at themselves.

"In reality the form of each individual is not that great and obviously that affects the group but that does not mean Argentina are playing poorly on account of Messi. On the contrary," Mascherano insisted at a news conference.

"We are not playing well as a group, each one of is is not performing well."

Mascherano, speaking to reporters at the team camp at Ezeiza just outside Buenos Aires, said the team were well aware they had to do better after looking like strangers to one another in their matches to date.

"We know everything is in our hands and we have to correct many of the things we have been doing badly in the opening two games. But we have faith in ourselves still that we can improve and that we will win on Monday to go through as this is like a final for us."

Argentina will take on Costa Rica and will likely have to win to guarantee their passage after the 'Ticos' beat Bolivia to move a point clear of the hosts.

Colombia, who next face the Bolivians, top the group with four points.

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