‘We’re hun­grier than Brazil’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

BUENOS AIRES: Diego Maradona is only con­sid­er­ing victory for his Ar­gentina side in next month’s piv­otal World Cup qual­i­fier against con­ti­nen­tal arch-ri­vals Brazil.

With four games to go in South Amer­i­can zonal qual­i­fy­ing, Ar­gentina are ly­ing fourth, in the last au­to­matic qual­i­fy­ing spot for South Africa, with 22 points, five be­hind leaders Brazil.

Chile and Paraguay are in sec­ond and third.

De­spite that pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion, Maradona was in pos­i­tive mood this week, telling a press con­fer­ence in Rosario where the Septem­ber 5 tie is be­ing held: “I’m only think­ing of victory, I’m not con­sid­er­ing de­feat.”

Hon­ours were shared with a goal­less draw in the two coun­tries’ first meet­ing on the road to South Africa in Belo Hor­i­zonte in June last year.

But this time Maradona be­lieves the out­come will be dif­fer­ent.

“We’re hun­grier than Brazil,” in­sisted the Ar­gen­tine foot­ball leg­end who this month was forced to dis­miss re­ports link­ing him to the man­ager’s job at English Premier League side Portsmouth.

Maradona, who took over as Ar­gentina boss in Novem­ber 2008, spoke in rev­er­en­tial terms of Dunga’s Brazil­ian side which in June suc­cess­fully de­fended their Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup ti­tle. “The en­tire Brazil team makes me scared,” he ad­mit­ted.

“They have a fan­tas­tic side but the best play­ers must be Kaka and Robinho.

“I have the ut­most re­spect for Car­los Dunga, he or­gan­ises things very well.”

He con­cluded by is­su­ing a ral­ly­ing cry to his team who had to come from be­hind to edge Rus­sia 3-2 in a warm-up to the Brazil clash last week in Moscow.

“We are all Ar­gen­tini­ans and we’re go­ing to be com­ing up against our big­gest ri­vals.

“We have to re­main united, oth­er­wise Brazil can do us great harm.”

Af­ter Brazil, Ar­gentina face an­other awk­ward as­sign­ment against the Paraguayans on Septem­ber 9, with the two-time world cham­pi­ons’ re­main­ing two qual­i­fiers against bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble Peru and six­th­placed Uruguay in Oc­to­ber. – Sapa-AFP

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