Argentina vs Brazil
Saturday, 5 September 2009
Estadio de Rosario Central
Kick-Off: 21:30 (1:30 UK time)
Diego Maradona will be looking for his side to rise to the occasion as he prepares for his biggest test as Argentina's manager.
Argentina is in desperate need of a good result considering it sat fourth in the table for South American World Cup Qualifications.
The match has been moved to a more intimate surrounding in Rosario, as Maradona will be looking to involve the passionate Argentinian fans.
Nicolas Burdisso will miss the match through injury, while Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini has been called up and could figure in his place.
Barcelona striker Lionel Messi will be a key player for Argentina’s attack and Maradona will have the luxury of choosing between Diego Milito, Sergio Kun Aguero, and Carlos Tevez to join him in attack. Veteran Martin Palermo has also been called up by Maradona but is unlikely to start.
Juan Sebastian Veron has recently announced he will retire from international football following the 2010 World Cup and will be itching to have an impact against Brazil.
Dunga’s men will enter the match in a much more comfortable position as Brazil sits atop the table in World Cup Qualifications for South America.
So far, Brazil has dominated proceedings as its +19 goal difference (25-6) indicates. Dunga’s side has lost only one of the first fourteen matches in qualifying, having won seven and drawn six.
Adriano has been recalled for the match and the big striker will look to use his muscle to cause havoc to the Argentina defense.
Kleberson will miss the match due to a shoulder injury, but Real Madrid new boy Kaká will enter the match with his confidence at its peak.
Argentina’s home support will serve as a major advantage coming into the match, although Brazil will have the comfort of playing a relaxed game due to its position in the table. The latter could prove a deciding factor if Argentina is unable to jump on top of its opponent early.
Historically, there isn’t much to choose between the sides as Brazil has beaten Argentina 35 times while Argentina has won 34. Should Maradona succeed in leveling things up at 35 apiece, Argentina would ease its worries of having to qualify by way of a playoff.
Argentina was successful in holding Brazil to 0-0 in the first match between the sides in Brazil, but Maradona will know that one point is less than adequate.
Lionel Messi, arguably the best player in the world, will have to show his worth in the match as his country will be relying on him.
Expect an entertaining affair in what is easily the match of the weekend!
Argentina vs Brazil Prediction: Argentina 2, Brazil 0