Argentina will be stiff competition for Germany
20 June 2005, NUREMBERG - Although Argentina and Germany have ensured qualification for the Confederations Cup semi-finals, both sides insist they want to win their group A match in Nuremberg on Tuesday.
20 June 2005
NUREMBERG - Although Argentina and Germany have ensured qualification for the Confederations Cup semi-finals, both sides insist they want to win their group A match in Nuremberg on Tuesday.
Hosts Germany could afford a draw to finish top of the group, but coach Juergen Klinsmann is keen to show he has a side now capable of beating one of the world's best football nations.
Since the 1-0 win over England at Wembley on October 7, 2000, Germany have played 12 times against major nations and failed to win. The miserable run included a loss and a draw to Argentina.
In fact Germany have to go back to the World Cup final in July 1990 in Rome for their last win over the South Americans - when Klinsmann himself was a player.
Since Klinsmann took over after the end of Euro 2004, his new young side managed a 2-2 draw with Argentina earlier this year and a 1-1 draw with Brazil in Berlin last September.
Klinsmann believes the results mean that the two big South American nations now have greater respect for Germany, but the coach knows he is facing the biggest test yet for his developing side.
"Argentina are a top team, perhaps even the best team in the world," said Klinsmann of the challenge awaiting him.
"It will be an exciting game and one we want to win. It is our aim to be the group winner. I am full of confidence."
The coach has ruled out making any major changes but will have to replace the suspended Arne Friedrich on the right side of defence. Alternatives are Patrick Owomoyela, Andreas Hinkel or even midfielder Bernd Schneider, who has filled the role recently.
There was also a question mark over goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who has been nursing a sore back but was expected to be available.
However, Klinsmann would not be drawn on whether the Bayern Munich man would be back between the posts after Jens Lehmann played faultlessly in the 3-0 defeat of Tunisia, or whether he might even give third-choice Timo Hildebrandt a rare outing.
Argentina coach Jose Pekerman has indicated he would be making some changes from the side that defeated Australia 4-2 as he continues the search to find his best starting line-up.
Brazil's 1-0 defeat against Mexico in Group B means neither side can speculate on who their semi-final opponents might be.
Captain Juan Pablo Sorin said Argentina would be going all out for the three points to finish top of the group.
"Both teams want to be first," he said. "The key will be which team manages to win the midfield battle. The team that can create the most pressure will have the advantage."
Sorin said despite both sides being safely through to the tournament last four it would still be a special match. "Against Germany you always expect one of those 'games with a difference'," he said.
Subject: German news