Argentina and Brazil prepare for Confed Cup final
28 June 2005, FRANKFURT - When Brazil and Argentina take to the field in Frankfurt on Wednesday in the final of the Confederations Cup there will be plenty at stake for both sides.
28 June 2005
FRANKFURT - When Brazil and Argentina take to the field in Frankfurt on Wednesday in the final of the Confederations Cup there will be plenty at stake for both sides.
For one, there is, of course, the title.
Both sides have won the competition once before. In 1992, when the tournament was still held in Saudi Arabia, Argentina lifted the King Fhad Cup as it was called then - after beating the hosts 3-1 in the final.
In 1997, the last time the competition was held in Saudi Arabia, Brazil scored the biggest victory in a final to date, beating Australia 6-0 with Ronaldo and Romario both scoring hat tricks.
Another thing at stake on Wednesday will be pride between these two great South American footballing powers.
They have played against each other 92 times, but the results depend on which statistics one looks at. The Argentinean federation, AFA, count 37 victories for Argentina, 22 draws and 33 defeats, while their Brazilian counterparts record the matches as even, with 33 victories for both countries and 26 draws.
For Brazil, there will also be the added incentive of revenge for an embarrassing defeat in a World Cup qualifier on June 8. A Hernan Crespo brace, as well as a Juan Riquelme goal - with Roberto Carlos scoring for Brazil in the second half - gave Argentina a 3-1 victory.
More importantly, it also guaranteed the two-time world champions a place at the finals in Germany next year - the first South American country to have qualified for the showpiece of world football.
But unlike Brazil, who looked impressive in their 3-2 victory against Germany in the semi-finals, Argentina looked sluggish during their penalty shoot-out win against Mexico, which is something that coach Jose Pekerman readily admits to.
"We did not look good at all, especially in the first half. I am pleased though that my young team was willing to work hard and come back in the second half and in extra time and then we had the little bit of luck that you need during the penalty shoot-out."
He added that he did not think the twin facts that his team needed 120 minutes against Mexico and had a day's less rest would give the Brazilians an advantage. "My team is very young, but they are very motivated and they will find the strength to play in the final against Brazil."
Pekerman's Brazilian counterpart, Carlos Alberto Parreira seems much more concerned about his players' condition. "In some of our matches you could see that some of the players are very tired from the long season."
The coach, who took the Selecao to World Cup honours in 1994, has said throughout the tournament that he will choose his team based on the emotional and physical fitness of his players.
"This can mean that some of the players who are regulars in the side do not play," he said.
Definitely missing for Argentina is forward Javier Saviola, who was red-carded in the semi-final against Mexico after kicking out at Gonzalo Pineda.
Saviola is not the only Brazilian and Argentinean star player who will not be appearing in the final as both sides have brought a somewhat weakened squad to the Confederations Cup.
Five Argentinean players who started in the World Cup qualifier against Brazil, including Roberto Ayala and Hernan Crespo, are not in the Confederations Cup squad.
On the Brazilian side, Roberto Carlos has also not made the trip to Germany. Another player missing in Germany is Real Madrid's Ronaldo, who was scrapped from the squad for the World Cup qualifier and the Confederations Cup after announcing that he preferred a lengthy holiday to playing in the Confederations Cup.
Subject: German news