Maradona: 1-0 win shows Argentina’s potential

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Maradona: 1-0 win shows Argentina’s potential

MUNICH - Argentina’s 1-0 win over Germany showed the two-time world champions are still alive, coach Diego Maradona said.

“Today we saw how good the players are. I’ve been saying it for some time but in my country they don’t listen to me,” he told reporters. “We needed to show that we could do what we did today.

“We’re alive, we know what we’re doing on the pitch, we understand the moment of the national team which has not won anything for 24 years,” added Maradona, referring to Argentina’s 1986 World Cup win.

Argentina’s win was a huge relief for Maradona, who has been through a turbulent 18 months as coach. The team at one stage looked as if it might fail to qualify for the World Cup, and it dropped matches at home to Brazil and away to Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay.

The coach looked increasingly desperate last year, repeatedly changing his squad and picking more than 100 players. Although Wednesday’s match was friendly, Maradona compared it to the teams’ previous meeting in the 2006 World Cup, when Germany won on penalties and a brawl broke out on the pitch.

“It looked like a World Cup quarterfinal,” he said after a match that featured some ferocious tackling from both sides. Germany barely created a scoring chance as Argentina pressed its defenders in its own half of the pitch.

“The players did everything I asked,” said Maradona. “We dominated every part of the field, we cancelled out their most important players and we coped well with their aerial game. We pressed Germany when they wanted to play out of defense, we pushed up to their third of the field and we blocked their exits.”

Nigeria dominated Democratic Republic of Congo 5-2 in Abuja, Nigeria, yesterday. With the planned friendly match against Paraguay cancelled at the last minute, Nigeria dominated its opponents with new manager Lars Lagerback observing from the stands. The team is comprised mostly of local players, with four Europe-based players thrown into the mix.

Greece lost to Senegal 2-0 in Volos, Greece, yesterday. The favorites heading into the match, the Greeks struggled in all facets of the game as their stagnant offense failed to find a spark and the reliable defense looked shaky, giving up two goals to their African opponents.

“Korea defeated Ivory Coast 2-0. If we want to survive in the World Cup, we must prepare better,” said Greece manager Otto Rehhagel.

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