PRETORIA (AFP) - Argentina coach Diego Maradona admitted on Saturday that he is concerned by the threat posed by Mexico's attacking players ahead of Sunday's second round clash.
Argentina qualified for the last 16 by winning all three of their group games while Mexico's progress was more erratic, drawing with hosts South Africa, losing to Uruguay but beating France 2-0 in a stunning performance.
And it is the prospect of a repeat of that swashbuckling attacking display that has Maradona biting his nails.
"Mexico have Rafael Marquez, (Andres) Guardado, Giovanni Dos Santos, many players that worry us," said Maradona.
"It's impossible to know what team they will play. Yesterday I had some information that it will be one team then this morning other information that it would be another.
"I don't know if (Cuauhtemoc) Blanco will play, or (Guillermo) Franco, although I hope he doesn't because he's good in the air.
"I think (Javier) Hernandez will play, we moves well all across the front line.
"I think Marquez will play at sweeper because he looked lost in midfield. But these are just my ideas.
"We know it will be a tough match but with the team and players we have, we can move forward."
Maradona also spoke of his admiration for Mexico coach Javier Aguirre, the former boss of Atletico Madrid who is in his second stint at the national team helm.
"I respect him a lot, we spoke at length with Kun (Sergio Aguero) and Maxi (Rodriguez, both of whom played under Aguirre at Atletico)," said Maradona.
"This gentleman has had a great career, he's a great coach and he's brought Mexico into the second round.
"They struggled to reach round of 16 and made great sacrifices and it's fair to say they have not been as impressive as ourselves as we had a tougher group to negotiate.
"But it's a matter of respect, we're going to repsect Mexcio and they should respect us, they should be aware that Argentina has a great history."
The 49-year-old also had a pop at his critics back home in Argentina for not having faith in his methods during a troublesome qualifying campaign in which they suffered a record-equalling 6-1 defeat to minnows Bolivia and only secured their passage to South Africa in their final match.
"We're in great shape, of course there's always few small things to solve within the group but it's not easy to go from being nobodies in your country and then going on to win three (World Cup) matches and keeping your concentration," he said.
"People said we were a disaster, the worst team they'd ever seen, now they're saying we're an excellent team.
"We have the same players so you shouldn't believe everything you hear. I'm just going to go on doing what I want with the same thoughts and ideas as before and to continue to work as I have been.
"I keep saying the others are favourites and we're here to fight but now this is a fight for history because when the roads become short and narrow, this is where history really begins."
Maradona said the criticisms were water off an old duck's back but he called on the press to apologise for what they wrote in the past.
"I'm going to be 50 on October 30, I'm grown up now so no, I don't hold a grudge," he said.
"But what makes me mad is when they (the press) lack respect to the players and when they don't know how to apologise when it's necessary to apologise."
|Reus will become a monster, says Dortmund boss Tuchel|
|Young Tottenham stars don´t know their limits - Lloris|
|Niang happy at Milan despite Leicester interest|
|Ticket price rise means more tourist fans, warns football supporters chairman|
|Ogbonna revels in first West Ham goal|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Huracan, River Plate advance to group stages|
|Klopp backs Benteke to rediscover goalscoring form|
|Turan will not leave Barca for China - agent|
|Beating Chelsea more difficult without Mourinho - Motta|
|Tuchel praises Dortmund for ´perfect game´|
|Klopp rues Liverpool wastefulness in FA Cup loss|
|Allegri: Chelsea rumours unfounded|
|Bilic feels weight of history after Liverpool win|
|Coupe de France Review: Second tier Sochaux stun Ligue 1 Monaco|
|West Ham 2 Liverpool 1 (aet): Ogbonna sinks Klopp´s men in cup thriller|
|Football League Review: Rhodes rescues a point to send Boro top|
|Stuttgart 1 Borussia Dortmund 3: Aubameyang helps Tuchel´s men into last four|
|Kyle Allen blames chaotic Texas A&M culture on Johnny Manziel era|
|Dortmund fans stage protest against ticket prices for Stuttgart game|
|Bayer Leverkusen 1 Werder Bremen 3: 10-man hosts dumped out|
|Ferdinand fears title wilderness for United|
|Carvalho lands new Sporting deal with €45m buy-out clause|
|Ben Arfa out for at least four weeks with hamstring injury|
|Neville´s Valencia woes welcomed by Crespo|
|Ozil key to Arsenal´s title hopes - Rosicky|
|Zika threat could keep Solo from Rio Olympics|
|Blanc pleased to have solved David Luiz matter|
|Atletico midfielder Partey suffers thigh strain|
|Dickov: Leicester title run built to last|
|Guardiola not a menace for our players, says Luis Enrique|
|Mexico v Senegal: Osorio believes in youngsters|
|Celta Vigo v Sevilla: Krohn-Dehli not taking Copa del Rey final for granted|
|Madrid confirm Marcelo shoulder dislocation|
|Injury rules Chiellini out of crucial Juve games|
|Oblak extends Atletico deal|
|Blanc hints PSG could move for Ben Arfa|
|Luis Enrique urges Neymar to cope with off-field distractions|
|Carrick: Manchester United not throwing in towel|
|Neville determined to turn things around at Valencia|
|Guardiola hails Lewandowski professionalism amid Real Madrid and PSG rumours|
|Guardiola wary of ´aggressive´ Bochum|
|Premier League reveals new logo|
|West Ham open Payet contract talks|
|I could leave Barcelona for Guardiola, says Busquets|
|Giggs can be Manchester United´s Guardiola - Robson|
|Zidane has everything to become a great coach - Ancelotti|
|Carragher: Liverpool got it wrong on ticket prices|
|Neymar will be at Barcelona for years, claims director|
|Eder talks up Inter´s Scudetto chances|
|Larsson: Watching Barca is like playing FIFA|
|City recruit Wilkinson hoping to debut in Melbourne derby|
|Allegri will join Chelsea, says former coach|
|Zanetti: No need to compare Maradona and Messi|
|Vardy: I never expected Leicester to top Premier League|
|Capello: Ronaldo has at least three years at the top|
|Klopp hoping for Sturridge revival|
|Bilic wants new contract to keep Payet at West Ham|
|Shelvey can be as good as Cabaye - Sissoko|
|Rooney leaps to Depay defence after Chelsea error|
|Januzaj, Varela injured in United Under-21s win|
|Valencia v Barcelona: Luis Enrique eyes record as Neville stands on the brink|
|Espanyol 0 Real Sociedad 5: Vela scores stunner in ruthless display|
|Cruyff would have preferred Guardiola at Manchester United|
|Questioning Ronaldo is an insult - Aduriz|
|Peterborough United v West Brom: Berahino set for another chance|
|Barcelona confirm medical tests for Messi|
|Ajax defender Riedewald out for season with broken ankle|
|Barcelona is the best place for Neymar - Mascherano|
|Clement axed as Derby head coach|
|Chelsea defender Zouma out for the season|
|Rodgers: I´ve turned down Swansea and four other clubs since Liverpool|
|Russia to invite Blatter and Platini to World Cup 2018|
|Robben rejoices as Ribery resumes Bayern training|
|Terry as good as ever, says Azpilicueta|
|Struggling Rotherham sack Redfearn|
|Courtois feels Champions League or FA Cup glory would save Chelsea´s season|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon: Genesio vows ´unlucky´ visitors will have a go|
|Liverpool cancel Q&A to discuss ticket price furore|
|Klopp: Liverpool won´t follow Payet to the toilet|
|Bochum v Bayern Munich: Alonso braced for intense month|
|Ronaldo: Two more years at Real Madrid and then we´ll see|
|No problems with Kagawa says Dortmund boss Tuchel|
|Laporte denies saying he would reject Barcelona|
|Impressive Sturridge and returning Coutinho in contention - Klopp|
|Leicester were afraid of Italian tactics - Ranieri reveals his secret|
|Coentrao sustains fractured foot|
|Barcelona director at ease over Neymar future|
|Mata touched by reaction of Chelsea fans|
|Alonso: Guardiola departure not a distraction|
|Thiago Silva: PSG can stay unbeaten all season|
|Cristiano Ronaldo will keep breaking records - Hugo Sanchez|
|Bilic: Klopp will be back because he is a leader|
|Mancini dismisses Inter title bid as ´a closed story´|
|Guardiola took Bayern for a ride - Hamann|
|Mihajlovic demands more from Balotelli|
|Campbell urges clubs to give black managers a chance|
|Marchisio expects Napoli showdown to be decisive|
|You can´t expect to score lots of goals in every game - Modric|
|FFA hit Wanderers with show cause notice|
|We did not deserve Madrid defeat - Granada coach|
|Mata frustrated with Chelsea draw|
|Valencia won´t sack Neville - Mendieta|
|Senna makes Villarreal return|
|Spalletti: Roma need to cut out lapses|
|China will break $100m transfer fee - Cahill|
|Ranieri: Don´t look down|
|Guardiola reinvented football - Alaba|
|Tottenham fear no one - Kane|
|Flores believes Tottenham are Premier League´s best|
|Henderson: Walkout no excuse for Sunderland collapse|
|Neville bullish about Valencia future|
|Ramos: Modric key for Madrid|
|La Liga Review: Luis Enrique matches Guardiola record, Modric rescues Madrid|