Brazil v Argentina: Martino relishing facing arch-rivals

9 October 2014 19:08

Gerardo Martino said the spice will not be taken out of Argentina’s clash against Brazil on Saturday because it is being played in Beijing.

The South American heavyweights renew their arch-rivalry in the Superclasico de las Americas this weekend in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

It is almost two years since the two nations locked horns, when Argentina ran out 2-1 winners in Buenos Aires, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then.

Many had hoped that Brazil and Argentina would meet in the World Cup final three months ago, but Germany had other ideas as they thrashed the hosts 7-1 in the semi-final before beating Argentina in the final.

Both nations have since appointed new coaches, with Martino replacing Alejandro Sabella as Argentina boss and Dunga taking over from Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Martino started his reign with an impressive 4-2 victory over Germany in a repeat of the World Cup final, and the former Barcelona coach is eager for a similar level of performance in a game that he classes as the biggest on the international stage.

“We will try to do what we did against Germany,” said Martino.

“Argentina against Brazil is the most important derby between national teams. It doesn’t matter where the match is held, it’s always important for the history between us and now also for the players.”

Argentina captain Lionel Messi missed his country’s victory over the world champions in Dusseldorf last month due to injury, but the Barcelona forward will be available for the eagerly awaited encounter in Chinese capital.

Martino opted against recalling in-form Juventus striker Carlos Tevez from his international exile, but Fernando Gago, Leonel Vangioni and Agustin Marchesin have been added to the squad.

Brazil have responded to their humiliating World Cup defeat at the hands of Joachim Low’s side by securing 1-0 victories against Colombia and Ecuador.

A victory over their foes this weekend would appease their passionate supporters and they will be striving for a third successive Superclasico de las Americas victory.

The Superclasico de las Americas returned to the calendar in 2011 in a two-legged contest, but will be decided by a one-off game this time around.

Midfielder Kaka has been recalled after an 18-month absence at international level, while his Sao Paulo team-mate Souza has also been drafted into the squad after Ricardo Goulart and Ramires were ruled out due to injury.

Gremio goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe has also been given the nod by Dunga.

It is the return of former world player of the year Kaka that is the major talking point, though, and the 32-year-old is relishing being given another chance to feature for his country.

He said: “I’m incredibly happy to be back. After a long time away from the national team, this comes as a reward for the work that I have been doing. It shows that I’ve been doing something good.

“I hope I can add a lot to the national team with my experience, I think I can help.”