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Argentina v. Brazil

September 5th, 2009

Argentina v. BrazilRosario Central, Rosario, Argentina Saturday, September 5th, 8:30

It’s never a typical match when Brazil and Argentina play. Lionel Messi summed up the importance of this match by stating beating Brazil would be bigger than the Champions League or the FIFA World Player of the Year…that this would be his greatest accomplishment. This Saturday its more than three points on the line; its Diego Maradona’s job and quite possibly his country’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

Brazil is essentially one win away from qualifying for 2010. Argentina sits in fourth in the qualifying group, two points clear of Ecuador for the playoff spot, and four points clear of Uruguay to miss the World Cup. The Uruguayans have a relative easy match this week against Peru. They host Argentina to finish qualifying at the Centenario making this match Saturday ever so important for the Argentines.

Argentina also still has a difficult trip to Asunción on the 9th. The war of words in the press has been ongoing in the lead up to this match. Diego Maradona not only made the ridiculous claim that he was a better player than Pele, but went further by saying “We will win because we have the best players.” Pele responded in kind saying, “But we already know who Maradona is…what he says isn’t worth taking into consideration.” Argentina has all the pressure in the world to perform in this match. In the opinion of many, except for possibly Maradona himself, Argentina has left many of their best players at home.

No Gonzalo Higuaín, Mauro Zarate, Cambiasso, Riquelme, or Lucho Gonzalez. Sure the attack will be impressive, but is that enough for this match? I think this Argentina side is extremely vulnerable. Its back four not a particularly impressive group and the opportunities should exist for Brazil to capitalize on the score sheet. You have to expect Maradona is going to play a straight 4-3-3, regardless of what he’s been saying in the press, with potentially Tevez, Messi, and Aguero up top. That should leave a little extra room in the midfield for Brazil. What are the keys for this match? Score early and Felipe Melo. Should Brazil manage to put one in the back of the net in the first fifteen minutes I really believe Argentina could be in for a long and embarrassing night.

A first goal will kill this crowd, especially when you consider what they are going to be expecting from this match. If Felipe Melo plays even 90 percent close to how he played against Roma this past weekend, Maradona’s attack will be sufficiently neutralize. Another player to watch is Maicon, who should have the opportunity to run wild on Gabriel Heinze The venue for this match changed in an attempt to give the home side a greater advantage. This match will be played outside Buenos Aires in the city of Rosario at the Gigante de Arroyito Stadium, also just known as Rosario Central. This will allow the fans to sit on top of the pitch, unlike the cavernous Monumental Stadium where the match was originally scheduled. It’s a difficult venue, probably the country’s second most difficult outside of the Bombonera (which for numerous security issues can’t host FIFA matches).

Predicting a result in a match like this is always challenging. Despite leaving a lot of quality out of their side, Lionel Messi plays for this team and for that reason alone Argentina has a chance to win any match. They have not lost at home during this qualifying campaign. This should be a physical match, but one that Argentina might be forced to play a bit open with pressure they are under. I think they will make that mistake and that the seleção will head to Salvador qualified for the World Cup with a 1-0 victory.

Brazil Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan), Victor (Gremio) Defenders: Andre Santos (Fenerbahce), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (Inter Milan), Filipe (Deportivo La Coruna), Lucio (Inter Milan), Luisao (Benfica), Miranda (Sao Paulo), Juan (AS Roma) Midfielders: Elano (Galatasaray), Felipe Melo (Juventus), Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos), Sandro (Internacional), Ramires (Benfica), Julio Baptista (AS Roma), Kaka (Real Madrid), Lucas (Liverpool) Forwards: Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Nilmar (Villarreal), Robinho (Manchester City), Adriano (Flamengo)

Argentina Goalkeepers: Juan Pablo Carrizo (Zaragoza), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar) Defenders: Javier Zanetti (Inter Milan), Nicolas Pareja (Espanyol), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle), Gabriel Heinze (Marseille), Sebastian Dominguez, Emiliano Papa, Nicolas Otamendi (all Velez Sarsfield), Rolando Schiavi (Newell’s Old Boys); Midfielders: Fernando Gago (Real Madrid), Javier Mascherano (Liverpool), Maxi Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid), Jesus Datolo (Napoli), Juan Sebastian Veron and Rodrigo Brana (Estudiantes), Mario Bolatti (Huracan), Sebastian Battaglia (Boca Juniors) Forwards: Carlos Tevez (Manchester City), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid), Lisandro Lopez (Lyon), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli), Eduardo Salvio (Lanus), Martin Palermo (Boca Juniors).

Thanks to Blog.Brazil

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