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Argentina to face arch-rivals Brazil in friendly match in Saudi Arabia

The friendlies will be Scaloni’s last chance to test his squad in match conditions before the South American zone qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.

SNS | New Delhi |

Two-time world champion Argentina will meet South American rivals Brazil and Uruguay in international friendlies next month.

The Albiceleste will face Brazil in Saudi Arabia on November 15 and Uruguay in Israel four days later, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) tweeted on Monday, reports Xinhua news agency.

This will be the second time the arch-rivals will be facing each other in 2019 after the controversial Copa America semifinal which Brazil won 209 in July. The match saw Argentine superstar Lionel Messi complaining that the hosts were benefitted of favouritism.

The matter heated up when the Albecileste players were denied what appeared clear penalties on two occasions. Dani Alves made the first challenge on Sergio Aguero before Arthur nudged Nicolas Otamendi inside the box. Both the challenges were waved away without going for VAR.

Such was level of Messi’s frustration that he went on to accuse the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) of setting up the tournament for Brazil’s eventual victory.

The 32-year-old was banned for three matches following the incident. However, Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni will now be free to recall his captain.

Reportedly, Messi got emotionally very disturbed after the elimination and gave his team a heartwarming speech.  “Messi said some beautiful words when we were eliminated by Brazil. Messi told us he was proud of the team we had built,” Argentine midfielder Angel Di Maria was quoted as saying to ESPN.

He further added, “That we had not been together much as some had not been called up [to the senior team] before. Yet, it felt as though we had all been together for many years. Once he finished, everyone was in tears because it touched everyone’s hearts, especially the youngsters.”

The friendlies will be Scaloni’s last chance to test his squad in match conditions before the South American zone qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which begin in March.

Earlier this month, Argentina drew 2-2 with Germany in Dortmund before beating Ecuador 6-1 in Alicante, Spain.

(With inputs from IANS)