Maradona: 'We're playing for our lives'

Updated: 25 July 2009 09:39 IST

Diego Maradona said on Friday what every Argentine football fan already knows _ the next World Cup qualifier against archrival Brazil is critical.

Maradona: 'We're playing for our lives'
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Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Diego Maradona said on Friday what every Argentine football fan already knows _ the next World Cup qualifier against archrival Brazil is critical.

"We're playing for our lives against Brazil. It's going to be a very tough game," Argentina's coach said on local television about the Sept. 5 match.

At Maradona's urging, the match will be played in Rosario, located about 300 kilometers (180 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires.

Argentine officials and FIFA officials approved moving the match from River Plate's Monumental Stadium after Maradona complained about the state of the playing surface.

Maradona described the field at Monumental Stadium as "disastrous" and a "pasture" before a 1- World Cup qualifying victory over Colombia on June 6. He also said the place needed a paint job.

But many considered his criticism biased as Monumental is the home of River Plate, the archrival of Boca Juniors, Maradona's old team.

With four rounds left in South American qualifying, Argentina holds the fourth and final automatic qualifying spot.

The group is led by Brazil on 27 points, Chile on 26 and Paraguay on 24, with Argentina on 22 points and facing competition from Ecuador (20), Uruguay (18), Colombia (17) and Venezuela (17).

The team finishing fifth plays the fourth-place team from North and Central America and the Caribbean for a spot at next year's tournament in South Africa.

Argentina's two remaining home qualifiers are on Sept. 5 against Brazil and Oct. 10 versus Peru. Argentina has away matches on Sept. 8 in Paraguay and Oct. 13 in Uruguay.

Topics : Football Bayern Munchen
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