International friendlyWednesday, November 17, 2010
Brilliant Messi breaks the jinx to sink Brazil on giants clash
With a last minute goal and after a brilliant play by Lionel Messi, Argentina defeated Brazil after more than five years, in a friendly match played in Doha, Qatar. With one of his typical mazy run, in which the talented striker piled up four defenders, Messi opened the score of a low-key game with a driven shot, and secured a highly emotional victory for the "albiceleste."
Their last meeting was in 2009 when Brazil won by two clear goals away from home which followed a goalless draw in the first World Cup qualifier.
Anyway, more worryingly is the fact that at last derbies, Argentina haven't even been close with Brazil winning three of the last five games by three goal margins.
It's a new era for both teams who have switched managers since a disappointing World Cup. Mano Menezes has made an impressive start winning his first three games all to nil. They beat USA (2-0); Iran (3-0); and Ukraine (2-0).
On the other hand, we have Sergio Batista who have already showed his credentials by beating Ireland in Dublin (1-0) and thrashing Spain (4-1) got him off to a healthy start but losing to Japan (0-1) for the first time ever certainly wasn't in the job description.
With the Copa America looming - Japan are also taking part for a second time as invited guests - and Brazil hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Latin America is at the forefront of the coming international football cycle. Hence both will be looking to craft teams which can deliver in front of their own fans.
Regarding the match, Messi said: "I'm particularly looking forward to this match. We already came up against them at the Olympics in Beijing and beat them 3-0. It'll be special thanks to the team we're playing and also the fact I'll come face to face with Ronaldinho, a person I've got great affection for following their time at Barcelona."
Batista has decided to make five moves compared to last friendly versus Japan last Oct. 8 in Saitama, and only five of those who lost against Japan will be on the field today (Sergio Romero, Nicolás Burdisso, Gabriel Heinze, Javier Mascherano, and Lionel Messi). Right-back Zanetti and mid-centre Ever Banega who missed last game due to injury will be back on the starting XI today, while playmaker Javier Pastore and Angel Di María will be pulling the string up front along with Messi
Furthermore, Gonzalo Higuaín is back and will be replacing injured Diego Milito who had played against Japan. Likewise, full-back Nicolás Pareja, who knows Batista very well after having had him as coach during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will be replacing Bayern Munchen's Martín Demichelis, who got to Doha with a muscular problem.
Argentina: Sergio Romero; Javier Zanetti, Nicolás Pareja, Nicolás Burdisso, Gabriel Heinze; Ever Banega, Javier Mascherano, Javier Pastore; Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Angel Di María.
Coach: Sergio Batista.
Brazil: Víctor; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, André Santos; Ramires, Lucas, Elías; Ronaldinho; Robinho, Neymar.
Coach: Mano Menezes.
Referee: Abdala Balideh (Qatar).
Linemen: Mohammad Dharman, and Hassan Thawad (Qatar).
Stadium: Khalifa International.