Preview: Argentina v Serbia and Montenegro

Serbia and Montenegro could be the first team eliminated from the 'Group of Death' when they face Argentina in Gelsenkirchen on Friday.

    Serbia & Montenegro striker Savo Milosevic

    The Balkan team face a mountain to climb when they take on two- time World Champion Argentina, and it got steeper earlier in the week when they lost key defender Nemanja Vidic with a knee injury.

    The side has also been rocked by news of in fighting between players and coach Ilija Petkovic.

    "If we begin the match with the same team as that of Sunday, we do not have any chance against Argentina," substitute midfielder Ognjen Koroman said.
     
    In contrast, the Albiceleste, who have a history of internal strife themselves, seem to be the quiet achievers of the tournament so far.

    With much of the focus centered around host nation Germany, and the likes of the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Spain, the Argentinians have gone about their business without much fuss.

    About the only thing worrying coach Jose Pekerman would be the health of 18 year old star Lionel Messi who injured his foot in training during the week.

    Missing Messi: Lionel Messi has
    another injury setback

    "He'll have it evaluated in the next hours and tomorrow we'll see. If it doesn't hurt we'll forget about it," a team official said on Wednesday.

    Defender Roberto Ayala was aware of the focus needed for the big match.

    "We must be thinking of collecting three points," said the Inter Milan man.

    "We must draw out the best of the strengths we showed against Ivory Coast," he added.

    The Serbia and Montenegro side who qualified largely due to their defensive efforts, must score goals in order to win the match and keep their tournament alive.

    This is also something their opponents are prepared for.

    "I think that they (Serbia), will play more offensively because  they lost the first game, they have to win the second one," said striker Julio Cruz.

    The Europeans will certainly be looking for value from strikers Savo Milosveic and Mateja Kezman, both of whom were substituted in their first game after showing a lack of presence up front.

    Serbia and Montenegro have everything to play for, while Argentina will want to guarantee progress before they face the Dutch.

    It’s a great recipe for a great game.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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