Thursday, June 05, 2008

S.America Gears Up for 2010 World Cup Qualifiers

Brazil will play Argentina and Chile coach nominates players

The excitement increases among the local fans as the Brazilian national team prepares to face its archrival, Argentina on June 18. The qualifying match for the 2010 World Cup will be played at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte and there will surely be a full house of approximately 60,000 spectators. However Brazil, will first have to travel to Asuncion, Paraguay to play the local team on June 14. Paraguay has an unbeaten record in a difficult qualifying tournament, (where each team must play eighteen matches in a two year period) including a win against Chile by 3-0 in Santiago and will prove a hard rival for the Brazilians. Even so, some players of the “Green and Yellow” team (the nickname given by its fans to the Brazilian national team) have declared that they are more interested in beating Argentina. “Due to the rivalry between Brazil and Argentina, this match has a unique importance. We respect Argentina,but Brazil must also be respected,” said Diego, an attacking midfielder currently playing for Werder Bremen in the German Bundesliga.
With regards to the absence of two key players, Kaka (A.C.Milan) and Ronaldino Gaucho (Barcelona) , Diego stated that he was sure that those players replacing them would perform well.

The other fixtures are as follows :

June 14-15, 2008






June 17-18, 2008






Copa Libertadores (S. American Club Champions League)

On June 4, at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Fluminense qualified for the finals of the Libertadores Cup after defeating Boca Juniors of Argentina by 3-1. Boca Juniors (last year´s champions) started off well after Martin Palermo scored in the 57th minute but Fluminense struck back immediately with a spectacular free kick goal by Washington only five minutes later. Goals by Dario Conca (70th minute) and Dodo (92nd min.), secured Fluminense´s victory over Boca Juniors. The match ended on a sour note as yet again Argentine players were involved in a brawl with local police and rival players. Fluminense is one of Rio´s most popular clubs but had never qualified for the final of the Libertadores, the most prestigious club tournament in South America. Next week Fluminense will have to play a relatively unknown team,Liga Deportiva Universitaria of Quito,Ecuador in a two way final.

Chile National Team:
Marcelo Bielsa (S.America´s highest paid national team coach) recently published in the football federation webpage the list of players that will take part in the next two qualifying matches against Bolivia (June 15) and Venezuela (June 19). Until now Chile has only beaten Peru, lost to Argentina and Paraguay and drawn with Uruguay.
The match against Bolivia will be played in La Paz, the world’s highest capital city, at an altitude of 3,600 meters (11,811 feet) while Puerto La Cruz, in the intense heat of Venezuela’s amazon jungle area will host the second game against the local team. Bielsa´s list caused a controversy among the Chilean press and fans since many key players were left out for different reasons. Jorge Valdivia, recently voted best player of the Brazilian league was left out by Bielsa since the coach believes that “ it´s not the right moment for Valdivia to play”. Bielsa also showed that he privileges discipline over playing capacity by rejecting Arturo Vidal (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Claudio Maldonado (Fenehrbace, Turkey) and Luis Jimenez (Inter Milan, Italy). Vidal was not included in the squad after refusing to take part in a preparation tournament in France. Instead, Vidal declared that he needed a rest and traveled from Germany to Santiago where was seen on many occasions partying in exclusive discoteques. Maldonado angered Bielsa by stating in a Turkish newspaper that “to play in La Paz at such an altitude is dangerous for players.” The absence of Luis Jimenez was the most expected since the Inter Milan player just does not get along with Bielsa. The coach has left Jimenez as a replacement on several matches and since then the player has shown little interest in playing for Chile.
The full list of players published in the ANFP(Chile federation) webpage is as follows:

Christopher Toselli (GK) U. Católica (Chile)
Claudio Bravo (GK) Real Sociedad (Spain)
Miguel Pinto (GK) U. de Chile
Osvaldo Gonzalez U. de Concepción (Chile)
Waldo Ponce Velez Sarsfield (Argentina)
Rafael Caroca Colo Colo (Chile)
Gonzalo Jara Colo Colo
Cristian Álvarez Beitar Jerusalén (Israel)
Ismael Fuentes Jaguares de Chiapas
Hugo Droguett Tecos (Mexico)
Roberto Cereceda Colo Colo
Gary Medel U. Católica (Chile)
José P. Fuenzalida Colo Colo
Manuel Iturra U. de Chile
Carlos Carmona O'Higgins (Chile)
Pedro Morales U. de Chile
Carlos Villanueva Real Sociedad (Spain)
Fabián Orellana Audax Italiano (Chile)
Alexis Sánchez River Plate (Argentina)
Mark González Betis (Spain)
Jean Beausejour O'Higgins
Daud Gazale D. Concepción
Humberto Suazo Monterrey (Mexico)

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