Felix Sanchez said Qatar is not at the Copa America to take selfies with Lionel Messi as the tournament guest looks to stun Argentina and qualify for the quarterfinals.
Qatar and Argentina — runner-up in 2015 and 2016 — will meet in Porto Alegre on Sunday, with a quarterfinal berth on the line. Asian Cup champions and 2022 World Cup host Qatar has one point from two games and is ahead of Argentina on goal difference in Group B, with third spot potentially enough to progress to the knockout phase.
The pressure is on Messi and Argentina to avoid a group-stage exit and Qatar head coach Sanchez insisted his side will not be overawed by the five-time Ballon d'Or winner. "It's true we are not very well known in South America, but we have super-professional players and we've come to compete, not to take photos with Messi," Sanchez told reporters.
'Obliged to win'
"They're the favourites and are obliged to win. We'll try to compete against a great team who have the best player in the world. We have a chance to qualify and that's what's exciting, not the fact we could knock out a monster like Argentina."
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Messi scored in Argentina's 1-1 draw with Paraguay following a 2-0 loss to Colombia to open its Copa America campaign. Qatar, meanwhile, overturned a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 against Paraguay before suffering a late 1-0 loss to Colombia on matchday two.
Sanchez added: "Messi can be decisive in any game due to his quality, hundreds of coaches have spent ages trying to stop him but there's no magic formula, it all depends on Leo's feet.
"However much you focus on it it's very difficult to stop him, but we'll try to prevent him from getting involved in the play in the final third of the pitch."