Kolkata: High on confidence after a successful Copa America campaign, Venezuela coach Cesar Farias is determined to break his side's jinx of being the only Latin American nation yet to qualify for the football World Cup by making the cut for the 2014 edition in neighbouring Brazil. (Agencies)
Under the 38-year-old Farias, Venezuela, popularly known as the Vinotintos or the Burgundies, finished a creditable fourth in the Copa America in Argentina earlier this year, which saw the country achieve their highest FIFA ranking of 40 in July.
"It's highly competitive in South America now. The gap between all the teams is very short. Results in Copa America showed that the teams are very close right now. So, we are obligated to be in the next World Cup," said the coach.
Farias said Friday's FIFA friendly against Argentina at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan is an excellent opportunity for his wards to test their potential against the Latin American giant ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
"It's not a friendly game. In games like this there is always a prestige issue, which makes it more important. Every time we face Argentina, we hope to see our team in the best of form," he said.
Farias said his team is strong enough to pose a serious challenge to the two-time World champions.
"It's an opportunity to check ourselves before the qualifiers. We have a young team but with lots of experience. So we are hoping to put up a good fight on Friday," he insisted.
Asked how he intends to tackle star Argentine forward Lionel Messi, Farias said, "You can't hide the fact that Messi is a great player, but football is a team game. Our team colours, burgundy, is a symbol of unity and we will be playing as a cohesive unit on Friday.
"We will pay attention to Argentina's strengths, but we will also play according to our strengths."
The turf at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan is an artificial one, but the Venezuela coach said it won't be problem for his side.
"We have not been able to visit the pitch yet. We played against Columbia in New York on artificial turf and against Mexico in Las Vegas three months back. It's not new for us. Our players are accustomed to such an experience," said Farias, who is only the second coach to guide Venezuela to the knockout stages of the Copa America.
Kolkata: High on confidence after a successful Copa America campaign, Venezuela coach Cesar Farias is determined to break his side's jinx of being the only Latin American nation yet to qualify for the football World Cup by making the cut for the 2014 edition in neighbouring Brazil.