2 June 2012

Africa: South American 'El-Classico' for Eight-Nation International Tournament

Photo: SAFA
Brazil celebrates winning of the 2012 Eight-Nation International Champions

Sunday's (3 June) 8-Nation International Tournament Final at the Cape Town Stadium sees a renewal of old rivalries between Brazil and Argentina.

The match kicks off at 16H30.

Brazil had Pele. Argentina had Maradona.

Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Neymar continued the Brazilian legacy.

Likewise Caniggia, Batistuta, Crespo, Agüero and Messi for the Spanish speaking nation.

There has never been much separating these two giants of the beautiful game, who once again go head to head.

The two South American countries have dominated youth international football for many years: Argentina have won the FIFA Under-20 World Cup seven times, Brazil have lifted the same trophy five times.

In the group stages, Brazil beat Japan 4-1, Kenya 4-0 and Cameroon 1-0, before triumphing over Amajita 4-3 in a thrilling semi-final.

They were taken all the way to penalties by South Africa before they were able to finally book their place in the final the match have ended 2-2 after 120 minutes.

Brazil coach Ney Franco admits it was a relief to see his team edging out the hosts to earn their place in the final against old foes.

"The game was equal, a wonderful and beautiful game. We expected a tough game. They are very strong at the back line. Very strong on the counter, we knew they would come at us strong.

"I'm very happy to be in the final, especially after such a tough game against South Africa. Now we look forward to the South American classic, another difficult game on Sunday."

Key players for Brazil are likely to include their number seven, Misael Bueno, through which most of their creative play rotates.

Strikers Adelmison Bispo Jr and Bruno Mendes have both been amongst the goals, while centre back Wellington dos Santos is cool, calm and collected in defence and also a threat at set pieces.

Argentina coach Marcelo Trobbiani, like his South American counterpart Franco, also saw his team having to dig deep to earn a spot in the final.

"It was a very hard match against Japan, and it was a good triumph for us. Brazil has the composure, the touches on the ball. They are a very potent team on the ball with a lot of quality," said Trobbiani.

Prior to defeating Japan, Argentina secured wins over South Africa (3-1), Nigeria (1-0) and drew 0-0 with Ghana.

Alan Ruiz has been their standout performer, dictating play from the centre of the park. Franco Fragapane has been their most potent player in attack. At the back, the inspiration and leadership come from captain Lisandro Magallan, who is excited at the way the team has progressed as the tournament has unfolded.

"I'm looking forward to an exciting final, I'm sure it will be a very tough and even game as it always is. The team is feeling very good ahead of the final. We're very happy because we are a new group of players that has just been formed, and we are happy with the way we have gelled. We're going to go out there and play our game and do our best," said Magallan.

Prior to the final will be the third and fourth place play-off, which sees South Africa taking on a very talented Japan side.

This match kicks off at 14H00, also at the Cape Town Stadium.

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