Sabella hopes for home comforts

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella expects to gain a valuable insight into the strength of his home-based players when they tackle Brazil twice this month.


Both teams will select from eligible players from their domestic leagues, with no players coming over from Europe given the matches on Wednesday and September 28 do not fall on dates designated by FIFA for internationals.

Wednesday's home match for Argentina in Cordoba is followed by a trip two weeks later to Belem in Brazil.

Sabella, who began his tenure with recent friendly wins over Venezuela and Nigeria, wants to see how his squad is shaping up ahead of the World Cup qualifying opener against Chile on October 7.

He said: "We'll test the form of local players. Most of the players of this team are abroad, but all the players are proud of wearing the Argentina shirt and representing our country."

Argentinian league stars Juan Sebastian Veron and Juan Roman Riquelme will miss Wednesday's game due to muscle injuries.

Sabella said: "I talked to Roman (Riquelme) late on Sunday and he told me he was not fit."

Boca Juniors goalkeeper Agustin Orion is expected to start tomorrow's game and said: "We are looking forward to this game.

"Being here is wonderful. I am very, very happy and I will help in any way I can."

Brazil look to have the stronger squad, with coach Mano Menezes able to call on Flamengo playmaker Ronaldinho and strikers Leandro Damiao of Internacional and Neymar of Santos.

However, there are also new faces in the squad such as Bruno Cortes, Casemiro, Cicero, Mario Fernandes, Oscar, Paulinho, Rafael, Renato Abreu, Rhodolfo and Romulo.

Neymar said: "Expectation is huge. This is a new group but all of us want to win."

Attacking midfielder Thiago Neves said: "All the players want to play this derby. If I have the chance to play, I want to prove I can have the chance to play in the main group."

Assessing Argentina's absentees, Sao Paulo midfielder Casemiro said: "They (Veron and Riquelme) are great players. Idols in Argentina, but we also have big players who can help Brazil win such as Neymar, Lucas or Ronaldinho."

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