Singapore motivated to take on Lionel Messi-led Argentina, says coach V Sundramoorthy

The likes of Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain among other will play at the National Stadium against the Lions on 13 June.

Lionel Messi
Argentina are set to play a friendly at the National Stadium on 13 June Reuters

Singapore coach V Sundramoorthy concedes the international friendly against Argentina at the National Stadium on 13 June will be a tough match, but says the Lions are motivated to fight until the final whistle to put up a good show.

A star-studded Argentina line-up, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi. Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Javier Mascherano among others, will arrive in Singapore, days after Jorge Sampaoli's men feature in a friendly fixture against Brazil in Melbourne.

Singapore have struggled to produce the right results under Sundramoorthy so far, but they will take confidence from the way they fought hard to snatch a point against Bahrain on the road in their AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifier in March.

Notably, before they face the Messi-led Argentina unit, the Lions will take on Myanmar in a closed-door friendly on 6 June, after which they will play Chinese Taipei in the Asian Cup qualifier at the National Stadium on 10 June.

"It [Argentina friendly] is going to be a tough game, but definitely the boys will keep their heads up and fight till the final whistle. We are all mentally prepared and motivated to face a big team like Argentina, and I believe it is good exposure for the players," Sundram said at the media conference organised to mark the 125th anniversary of Football Association of Singapore, as quoted by Today.

"I remember during my playing days, we played several top teams...[and] we managed to beat Bayern 2-1 at the National Stadium, so I believe it all boils down to [how you perform] on the day itself.

"The weather plays an important part as well. After 45 minutes, they [Argentina] will probably be struggling and we can capitalise on that. But we are not thinking of the score line...we are just thinking of how we can compete and keep ourselves coming out with our heads up."

Singapore are training with a 27-man squad, which will be trimmed to 23 when intensive training begins tomorrow at Amara Hotel. Skipper Shahril Ishak, after his good show with Warriors FC, will be hoping to lead the team into the National Stadium, which is expected to be packed on the big day. Notably, the Lions ace was benched throughout their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign last year.

Former Tampines Rovers winger Hafiz Abu Sujad is part of the squad as well. However, with limited match practice after being released by his Thai club Big Bang Chula United, it remains to be seen whether he will make the 23-man squad.