Aguirre: Argentina is favorite against Mexico

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — Nobody gives Mexico much of a chance against Diego Maradona's Argentina team in the World Cup round of 16 on Sunday. Coach Javier Aguirre isn't ready to pack his bags yet.

Aguirre, looking irritated and answering questions before they had been completed at Saturday's news conference, said his team had been given up for "dead and buried".

Mexico lost to Uruguay in its final group match to set up Sunday's tough game with Argentina — a repeat of 2006, when Argentina reached the quarterfinals thanks to a superb goal by Maxi Rodriguez in injury time.

Aguirre acknowledged Argentina was "the favorite by far," but said "we will see what happens."

Aguirre repeated the phrase "we will see" several times when pressed to sum up his team's chances amid pessimism back home.

"I know that there is this feeling in Mexico," Aguirre said. "But we know what we want. We've been working to change the course of history. Nobody is betting their bottom dollar on us, nobody believes in our future, but we will see."

Eight players on Mexico's current squad played in the defeat four years ago, but Aguirre said revenge had not been discussed.

"We don't need any kind of motivation," he said. "Both teams want to go through to the quarterfinals.

"These guys are hungry, they're not afraid of success, they have no complexes. Whether we win or lose, you can never criticize our team. They have the courage and they are going to fight."

Mexico's lineup could be boosted by the return of striker Carlos Vela, who seems to have recovered from a right leg injury suffered in the 2-0 victory over France in the second group match.

Vela started the first two games, but missed the Uruguay loss due to the injury. The striker has stepped up his training in recent days.

"He's available, he's in good shape," Aguirre said without revealing whether Vela would play.