Nicolas Otamendi is looking forward to Argentina’s “Clasico” against Brazil following their 2-0 quarter-final win over Venezuela.
Lautaro Martinez and Giovani Lo Celso were the scorers as Argentina secured a comfortable victory on Friday in Maracana, where they lost the 2014 World Cup final to Germany.
It was easily the best performance La Albiceleste have exhibited this summer. Therefore, hopes are high that they’ve made a timely return to form ahead of next Tuesday’s trip to Belo Horizonte.
While Otamendi was unsurprised by their difficult start in the Copa America, he’s now feeling optimistic going into next week’s showdown with Brazil.
“We knew it would be difficult from the beginning. It took time to take off, we got better,” said Otamendi, according to AOL.
“Now we are in the semi-finals against an opponent where it is a clasico and we hope it will go in favour of Argentina.”
The Manchester City defender enjoyed a long duel with Venezuela striker Salomon Rondon throughout the match. Eventually, he came out on top to help Argentina to keep their second clean sheet in a row.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult, hard and very intense match,” continued Otamendi.
“The important thing was to keep discipline, with very strong players like Rondon who hold [the ball up] well.
“We controlled the game very well for most of the time. Maybe from dead balls the opponents had a few chances.
“The goal in the second half gave us a cushion. We were attacking and we knew how to keep organised well. It’s a great victory for us.”
Otamendi’s City and Argentina team-mate Sergio Aguero is also looking forward to the Brazil match.
“We will try to do our best, as we have been doing, to work for the shirt,” he said.
“Argentina-Brazil is not played every day, especially in a competition like this. It generates a lot of expectation, not only in our country but in the world.
“We knew that this match was not going to be easy but we are happy to have gone to the semi-finals. Little by little, we are getting better.”