Argentina to face Brazil

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:07 IST

Any loss to the old enemy Brazil is a torment to Argentines, but to fall to what is effectively Brazil's B team would be even worse.

Argentina to face Brazil

Lima:

Argentina can't afford to lose to Brazil in the Copa America final. Any loss to the old enemy is a torment to Argentines, but to fall to what is effectively Brazil's B team would be even worse at National Stadium today. Argentina's exciting form in making its first final anywhere in 11 years has finally drawn credibility and affection from its demanding fans, and began to heal the wounds from the 2002 World Cup disaster, when the pre-Cup favourite was kicked out in the first round. Coach Marcelo Bielsa also badly needs the victory. Beloved by his players but belittled by his countrymen, Bielsa's devotion to attacking soccer would be validated, and help keep the job he's held since 1999. "Anything less than the best would be considered a tremendous disappointment," Bielsa said. The teams previously met only last month in World Cup qualifying, and Argentina lost 3-1 on three penalty kicks which still twist their stomachs. Argentina has seven back from that side, and welcomes the return of Valencia defender and captain Roberto Ayala who was suspended for that game. But Brazil has only two who started in Belo Horizonte: Bayer Leverkusen defender Juan and Arsenal midfielder Edu. Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira rested his major stars and brought his second-best outfit and it's been a wonderful experiment on the pitch, even if most of their games have failed to sell out. (AP)

Topics : Football
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