Copa America 2016

Beat Chile or don't come back: Maradona

BUENOS AIRES • Argentina football legend Diego Maradona told his national team not to bother coming back home if they do not win the Copa America Centenario on Sunday (Monday, 8am Singapore time).

"We will certainly win on Sunday... and if we don't win, they shouldn't come back," the 55-year-old told television channel C5N.

He was speaking on Wednesday, the 30th anniversary of his two most famous goals against England in the 1986 World Cup.

Argentina, under their superstar captain Lionel Messi, reached the final of the Americas' top international tournament by beating hosts the United States 4-0.

Meanwhile, coach Juan Carlos Osorio has survived Mexico's shock 7-0 pasting by title holders Chile after being confirmed in his position by the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) on Thursday.

Mexico, among the favourites and counting on massive support in the tournament, were crushed in their quarter-final in Santa Clara, California, last weekend.

FMF general secretary Guillermo Cantu told a news conference that Osorio's departure was not a good option and the Colombian would continue trying to lead Mexico to the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia, the task for which he was appointed last October.

"What happened on Saturday was a blow to all of us in Mexico," said Cantu. "To remove him may be the simplest solution, but we decided to continue with the project started last October."

The defeat, called the most bitter and humiliating in Mexico's football history by media across the Rio Grande, ended a run of 22 matches unbeaten for the national team.

Osorio's record in charge is nine wins and a draw in 11 matches.

The US will take on their first competitor in the competition, Colombia, in the third-place match today at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Colombia beat the US 2-0 in the opening game of the tournament.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

USA v COLOMBIA

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2016, with the headline 'Beat Chile or don't come back: Maradona'. Print Edition | Subscribe