There will be one player lining up for Argentina against Germany in Nuremberg on Tuesday evening who will be attracting more attention than most.
Although yet to make his debut with the Albiceleste, the Cordoba-born Martin Demichelis, or Micho as he is known to his friends, knows the Frankenstadion like the back of his hand. Two years ago he became the very first Argentine footballer to play for the newly crowned Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich.
In an exclusive interview with FIFAworldcup.com, Demichelis spoke about his call-up to the national side and the upcoming clash against the Germans, and told us how he would love to make his debut, if only for a few minutes: "I'm dying to play and to show I can become part of the team." He even has some essential culinary advice for any Argentina fans planning a trip to the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.
So Martin, how do you think the team is faring in this year's FIFA Confederations Cup?
I think we've done really well so far. Although there are fewer teams than in the FIFA World Cup finals, we know the group stages will be very similar to the set-up for next year. Fortunately, the team got off to a good start, which is never easy to do, and in game two we qualified for the semis.
From a personal viewpoint, how would you describe your first call-up? Did you expect it because the tournament is being held in Germany?
I was desperate to be part of the national team, and the fact is I was expecting it - not because it's being played in Germany but because of the way I've been playing lately. When I left Buenos Aires, having won two league titles, I showed I'm a good player. Here, I've been able to improve my game in what is a very competitive league. Now I've achieved that objective, I'm dying to play for Argentina, even if only for a few minutes.
We have seen you playing in the centre of defence and as a full-back. Where would you rather play for Argentina?
I really don't mind. Anyone who saw me in Argentina knows how well I can play at centre-half, but I slipped into the full-back role at Bayern Munich without any problems. There's not much difference between the two really. What's important is that the coach knows he can rely on me whatever the position. I can't go and choose where I want to play, and as I said before, I'm just desperate to pull on the shirt and put in a good performance.
You have spent two seasons in Germany now. What does it mean to you to make your debut against Jurgen Klinsmann's side?
To be honest it doesn't make any difference that we're playing Germany. Naturally, journalists like to talk about that kind of thing, but the most important thing for me is that it's my first game for Argentina. I want to show that I can play a part in this great side.
Obviously you know the Germans well. What kind of team are Argentina up against on Tuesday?
They're all fighting for places and looking to make their mark. They didn't do too well at the European Championship last year and lots of coaches were offered the job after that but turned it down. The players know they have to give it everything and that they'll be under the microscope constantly. They're also playing at home and will be looking to use that to their advantage and lift the trophy in front of their fans. Make no mistake, they're a tough, quick and physically strong side.
Have you spoken to your Bayern Munich team-mates recently?
Yes, we've been in touch, but we didn't chat about the game, just about things outside football.
So you would not think twice about fouling them if you had to.
(Laughs) Rest assured, if there's a 50-50 ball I'll be going for it. Playing for your national team that's what matters.
How well have you settled here in Germany? How difficult is it for someone from South America?
To be honest it was a struggle at first, but I'm much more settled now. Everything's different here: the language, the customs, the way of life. To make matters worse I got injured early on but luckily things have got much better since then.
You just mentioned the different way of life here. How do things differ in terms of football?
In Argentina we like to build up a good atmosphere in the dressing room and we approach training very differently. Here, they don't understand the fact that we enjoy ourselves in training, we laugh and do silly things like nutmegs and backheels. Maybe they think it's not the done thing, like shouting to motivate each other before a game, or singing and jumping about on the way to the stadium. Those are the kind of things we do in Argentina but it's not like that here. It's dead before a game, there's no music, nothing. I miss the atmosphere you get in Argentina, so it's nice to slip back into the old routines with the team here.
Argentina have already booked their place at next year's FIFA World Cup finals. Do you have any advice for the fans planning to come to Germany?
They should pack the most traditional stuff like yerba for maté tea and condensed milk. They'll also need to bring a good selection of meats because you just don't get the thick steaks we love so much.