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   June 6, 2002 | 1945 IST



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Argentina pick Kily for England clash

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World Cup group F leaders Argentina will play England at the Sapporo Dome on Friday with the team that started the second half of their opening match against Nigeria.

Kily Gonzalez starts on the left of the attack, having given Argentina more variety as a second half substitute for Claudio Lopez in the 1-0 win over Nigeria in Ibaraki on Sunday.

The team announced by coach Marcelo Bielsa is otherwise the same after Juan Pablo Sorin and Ariel Ortega were passed fit following minor knocks against the Nigerians.

"After the (Nigeria) match I was left with the feeling that Kily should play," Bielsa told a news conference.

"Neither Ortega nor Sorin trained normally these last days (since Monday), but in principle they're fit and it's important that they play," he said.

"Sorin got a knock on the calf (muscle) but has recovered satisfactorily and can play tomorrow."

The team will again be captained by Juan Sebastian Veron as Roberto Ayala, who pulled a thigh muscle warming up for the match in Ibaraki, is not being risked.

Diego Placente retains his place on the left of the back three with Walter Samuel again standing in for Ayala as sweeper.

Gabriel Batistuta, whose winner against Nigeria was his tenth World Cup goal, again leads the attack in a side with five veterans from Argentina's last World Cup clash with England in the second round of the 1998 finals.


Asked whether Batistuta or his rival for the central striker's role Hernan Crespo would take the penalty if Argentina were awarded one during the game, Bielsa said: "One of the two."

Crespo came on for Batistuta for the last nine minutes of the match against Nigeria. Bielsa has so far discarded the option of playing them both together up front.

But he did not rule it out altogether, saying: "We always like to have the field well covered. Batistuta and Crespo, Veron and (Pablo) Aimar (together) can happen."

Bielsa said he did not think Veron might try too hard to impress following media criticism in Britain of his first season for Manchester United.

"I don't think that Veron will be destabilised by that, regardless of whether he plays well or badly," Bielsa said.

Bielsa said the match with England, steeped in an enmity exacerbated by the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas war, "is just another match, although a match with a lot of history, we're not unaware of that. It accentuates the antagonism.

"It's going to be more intense than against Nigeria, which was calmer, the players are going to run more metres and at greater speed," he said.

Bielsa said his team have prepared for the aerial problems England are expected to pose.

"They are not only good headers, but also good with the long ball. This is going to be a very good test for us in that sense."

Team (3-4-3): 12-Pablo Cavallero; 4-Mauricio Pochettino, 6-Walter Samuel, 13-Diego Placente; 8-Javier Zanetti, 14-Diego Simeone, 11-Juan Sebastian Veron, 3-Juan Pablo Sorin; 10-Ariel Ortega, 9-Gabriel Batistuta, 18-Kily Gonzalez.

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