Argentina

2006-06-01 10:56

Berlin - Thirty-two teams have qualified for the 2006 World Cup finals which take place in Germany from June 9 - July 9.

ARGENTINA

Honours:

World Cup appearances: 13 (1930, 1934, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002)

World Cup winners: 2 (1978, 1986); Runners-up 2 (1930, 1990)

Copa America winners: 14 (1921, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1937, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1991, 1993)

Fifa world ranking: 8

Odds: 7/1

Coach: Jose Pekerman

Elevated to the national team hotseat in 2004 after the sudden departure of Marcelo Bielsa, Pekerman's came to the senior side after guiding Argentina's under-20s to three youth World Cups.

The respected 56-year-old had already turned down an offer to coach the side in 1998 saying he did not have enough experience, but did not hesitate when offered the position six years later.

Key player: Juan Roman Riquelme

Sublimely gifted playmaker who is the attacking fulcrum of the Argentinian side. Lacks pace, but his superb control and positional awareness make him devilishly hard to mark.

Career has taken off since he was let go by Barcelona and headed to Villarreal, whose run to the semi-finals of the Champions League was largely down to the inspirational Riquelme.

Squad:,/b>

Goalkeepers:

Roberto Abbondanzieri (Boca Juniors), Leonardo Franco (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Oscar Ustari (Independiente)

Defenders:

Nicolas Burdisso (Inter Milan/ITA), Gabriel Milito (Zaragoza/ESP), Juan Pablo Sorin (Villarreal/ESP), Fabricio Coloccini (Deportivo La Coruna/ESP), Leandro Cufre (Roma/ITA), Roberto Ayala (Valencia/ESP), Gabriel Heinze (Manchester United/ENG)

Midfielders:

Maximiliano Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan/ITA), Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal/ESP), Lionel Scaloni (West Ham/ENG), Luis Gonzalez (Porto/POR), Javier Mascherano (Corinthians/BRA), Pablo Aimar (Valencia/ESP)

Forwards:

Lionel Messi (Barcelona/ESP), Hernan Crespo (Chelsea/ENG), Carlos Tevez (Corinthians/BRA), Javier Saviola (Sevilla/ESP), Julio Cruz (Inter Milan/ITA), Rodrigo Palacio (Boca Juniors)

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