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Argentina, Uruguay showcase attacking might

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RIO DE JANEIRO — Rivals Argentina and Uruguay will meet today  in a World Cup qualifier laced with tradition, intrigue and the promise of an attacking football exhibition.

The neighbours from either side of the Rio de la Plata boast two of the most prolific strike forces in world football.

Enough has been said about the genius of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. When teamed with Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain and Paris Saint-Germain’s Ezequiel Lavezzi, the Argentina attack begins to take on fantasy-team proportions.

Coach Alejandro Sabella is faced with an enviable selection dilemma with Lavezzi expected to start on the bench.

Uruguay’s forwards also form a formidable unit capable of unravelling the tightest of defences. So much so that Internacional’s Diego Forlan, the 2010 winner of the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup in South Africa, is not even guaranteed a place in Oscar Tabarez’s starting line-up.

Liverpool’s Luis Suarez is certain to start and looks set to be joined by Napoli’s Edinson Cavani, who has scored six goals from seven matches in Italy’s Serie A this season.

Adding to the prospect of a goal-scoring glut at Estadio Malvinas in the western Argentine city of Mendoza is the relative weak defences of both sides.

Even more pertinent is the apparent willingness of both coaches to expose their team’s midfield and defence by accommodating their wealth of strikers.

Argentina currently leads South America’s Conmebol standings with 14 points from seven matches while Uruguay is fourth with 12 points.

In other South American qualifiers today, Bolivia hosts Peru in La Paz, Colombia meets Paraguay in Barranquilla, while Ecuador plays Chile in Quito.

Under the Conmebol World Cup qualifying format, each team plays each other on a home-and-away basis over a two-year period. —Xinhua

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