Argentina look to make another piece of history against All Blacks

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Chris Foley
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London (AFP) - Argentina know the odds are stacked against them when they face New Zealand in their opening World Cup encounter at Wembley Stadium on Sunday but coach Daniel Hourcade hopes they can add the champions scalp to notable ones of the recent past.

Wins over Australia and South Africa in the last two years "show we are developing and I continue to hope we keep making history," coach Daniel Hourcade said.

In 21 matches dating back 30 years the Pumas have never beaten the All Blacks, with a solitary draw in 1985 when the formidable Hugo Porta kicked four penalties and three drop goals the only time they have avoided a loss.

Since joining the Rugby Championship in 2012, Argentina have recorded famous wins over South Africa and Australia but against the All Blacks they have never been closer than 15 points behind at the final whistle.

Captain Agustin Creevy, however, still refuses to admit defeat before the game has played out, clinging to the hope that the All Blacks dominance over the champion South American side cannot last forever.

"New Zealand are favourites to win the title. They are the best in the world. We know how good they are, but we are going out to play the perfect match and win," he said.

Hourcade is less confident but acknowledges his side's opportunity to finish second to the All Blacks in Pool C to progress to the quarter-finals.

"Even when we have played well against the All Blacks we did not even get close," he said.

"On paper we are not favourites, but we have come here with the idea of having a great World Cup."

Despite his own expectations, Hourcade has instilled in his players a belief that they can succeed.

Lock Matias Alemanno said they are "prepared psychologically" but it will take a special effort to down the reigning world champions.

"We start as equals and have to do everything right, everything perfect. If we don't do it 100 percent we will not win."

In Argentina's last World Cup match against the All Blacks, in the 2011 quarter-finals, they led 7-6 midway through the first half before the pressure told with New Zealand finishing up comfortable 33-10 winners.

Wing Horacio Agulla said their game plan was to again knock the All Blacks off their stride at the start, and this time they believed they could maintain the advantage to the end.

"I really want to win and believe we can," he said.

"There will be a lot of intensity at the start, there will be a lot of emotion inside but we must keep a cool head."

A clean sweep against the remaining sides in their pool, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia should be enough to get Argentina into the quarter-finals and a clash against the winners of Pool D, likely to be either France or Ireland.