Venezuela Eyes Historic World Cup Vow in Copa America Opener

Venezuela aims to build on recent strong performance in South American World Cup qualifiers as they face Ecuador in their Copa America opener. Coach Fernando Batista remains optimistic despite no warm-up games, relying on a mix of youth and experienced players like Salomon Rondon.

Reuters | Updated: 22-06-2024 06:30 IST | Created: 22-06-2024 06:30 IST
Venezuela Eyes Historic World Cup Vow in Copa America Opener
AI Generated Representative Image

Venezuela should be able to repeat their recent strong performance in the South American World Cup qualifiers when they face Ecuador in their Copa America opener on Saturday despite not playing any warm-up games, coach Fernando Batista said. Venezuela are chasing a first-ever World Cup berth, sitting fourth in the CONMEBOL qualifiers ahead of Brazil in sixth and Ecuador in fifth and behind leaders Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia.

Batista's side last played in March, a goalless friendly draw against Guatemala three days after losing 2-1 to European champions Italy. But the manager is optimistic they can break a five-match winless run against familiar opponents. "I am calm with the training sessions. I think we are in the best shape for the start of this Cup. It doesn't depend on what we did in the previous friendlies," Batista, who is from Argentina, told a news conference on Friday in Santa Clara, California where Saturday's match will take place.

"We're going to be ready for whatever Ecuador prepares. I think it's going to be a different game to the qualifiers. They know us, we know them. We know how the team works, and their individual quality. "We are on the right track. We don't want to lose what we've been doing, but always with humility, knowing that we can play on equal terms with anyone".

Venezuela, the only South American team never to have played in a World Cup, aim to return to the Copa quarter-finals after their group-stage exit in 2021. They plan to rely on a mix of youth and experienced players such as CONCACAF Champions Cup top scorer Salomon Rondon. "This is a process and a project where the idea is to see young players who have the opportunity to rub shoulders with great experienced players," the 53-year-old Batista added.

"I have the same enthusiasm as all the Venezuelan people. To have a good Copa America that will allow us to continue to strengthen our ideas." Venezuela also take on Jamaica and Mexico in Group B.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback