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Argentina, Brazil promise thriller

June 08, 2005 15:10 IST

World champions Brazil will keep their new ultra-attacking lineup against old rivals Argentina in a World Cup qualifier that promises to be a match to remember on Wednesday.

Both teams are close to qualifying for the finals in Germany next year but the winners at the River Plate stadium will make mathematically sure of their place with three games to play.

Argentina lead the 10-nation South American group with 28 points from 14 games, one more than their opponents.

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has promised to repeat the lineup that produced a superb 4-1 win over Paraguay on Sunday and won plaudits all round for a man previously criticised as being overcautious.

Parreira's opposite number Jose Pekerman, meanwhile, needs a win to restore confidence in his team and his leadership after Saturday's 2-0 defeat in Ecuador, when Argentina controversially rested several top players.

Pekerman, who lost his seven-match unbeaten record, is under fire for repeatedly shuffling his team.

Brazil, who last won in Argentina in a 1995 friendly, will effectively field four forwards with Adriano and Robinho up front while Ronaldinho and Kaka drop back to start the attacks.

Ronaldo has been rested from the end-of-season internationals after saying he was worn out.

The only changes will be in the back four where captain Cafu returns after suspension to replace Belletti and Juan stands in for the suspended Lucio.


"We are not going to play in a conservative manner, it would be suicide to come here and defend all the time," said Parreira.

Argentina, who last beat Brazil four years ago in a 2002 World Cup qualifier, have been singing the praise of their opponents.

"Brazil are champions of America and the world," said striker Hernan Crespo.

"We used to think

their weak points were in goal and in defence. Now, they also have good goalkeepers and defenders."

"Brazil are the Dream Team. If you look at the names, you will realise they are the top candidates to win the World Cup. Everyone knows that."

Although both camps are preaching peace, plenty of spice has added to the usual neighbourly rivalry recently and Argentina are out for revenge after losing in two stormy meetings.

Argentina were furious after Ronaldo won and converted three penalties in Brazil's 3-1 win in Belo Horizonte last year, when the teams met for the first time in the group.

That was followed by a hotly contested Copa America final in Peru in July when Brazil scored with the last kick of the match to force a 2-2 draw and won on penalties.

"Nobody messes with the five times world champions," said Parreira at the time after Brazil accused Argentina of provoking them minutes before the equaliser.

In January, the 1990 World Cup water controversy blew up again when Carlos Bilardo, Argentina's coach at the time, seemed to imply in a magazine interview that his team offered contaminated water to Brazil's players in a second round match.

Three months later, Leandro Desabato, a defender with Buenos Aires club Quilmes, was arrested on the pitch following a Libertadores Cup match away to Brazil's Sao Paulo and accused of racially insulting rival forward Grafite.

He spent 40 hours in police custody and was at one stage handcuffed before being released.


Argentina: Roberto Abbondanzieri; Fabricio Coloccini, Roberto Ayala, Gabriel Heinze; Luis Gonzalez, Javier Mascherano, Juan Pablo Sorin, Cristian Gonzalez, Juan Roman Riquelme; Javier Saviola, Hernan Crespo

Brazil: Dida; Cafu, Roque Junior, Juan, Roberto Carlos; Emerson, Ze Roberto, Kaka, Ronaldinho; Robinho, Adriano

Referee: Gustavo Mendez
Luis Ampuero
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