Argentina squad '60 percent' decided, says coach

09:56, January 29, 2010      

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Argentina coach Diego Maradona says there are about 10 undecided places up for grabs in his squad for this summer's World Cup in South Africa.

The outspoken former national team great, speaking after watching his charges beat Costa Rica 3-2 in a friendly on Tuesday, said he had already decided on "60 percent" of his squad.

Tuesday's match, featuring only home-based players tuning up for the resumption of the Argentine championship next weekend, provided few clues as to the likely make-up of Maradona's group for the June 11-July 11 tournament.

"A victory which didn't provide the necessary answers," was the verdict of Argentine daily La Nacion following a victory over a side that has not qualified for the World Cup and which was mostly comprised of Under-21 players.

The game nonetheless provided Maradona with the opportunity to increase the number of players he has called up to 94 since he took over the role in late 2008.

"Clement Rodriguez, (Jose) Sosa, (Walter) Erviti, (Juan) Mercier and (Nicolas) Gaitan impressed me," Maradona said.

Fullback Rodriguez, who performed well in a position that has yet to be claimed, and midfielder Sosa were the two players who strengthened their cases the most, according to the local press.

"No matter what anyone says, I will continue to experiment," said Maradona, who was making his first touchline appearance since the expiration of the six-month ban issued by FIFA for his outburst at the press in the wake of the 1-0 win in Uruguay last October that sealed World Cup qualification.

The two-time world champions have no more than three or four matches in which to complete their preparations for the tournament, in which they will face Nigeria, Greece and South Korea in Group B.

They host Jamaica on Feb10 before traveling to Berlin to face Germany on March 3, with fixtures against Canada and Israel possibly to follow in May.

Maradona claimed on Tuesday that he had "already decided 60 percent of the squad", adding that only "Lionel Messi, Juan Sebastian Veron and Javier Mascherano have already secured a place at the World Cup".

Source: China Daily/Agencies
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