Argentina open up against Syria

Argentina and Syria get their Korea 2007 campaigns underway on Sunday when they bring the first day of Group C action to a close at the Ulsan Complex Stadium.

The game
Argentina vs. Syria, 19 August, 19:00 (Ulsan)

The stakes
Argentina, perennial potential winners at FIFA youth tournaments, will need to dictate play if they are to avoid problems against debutants Syria, themselves determined to book a place in the Round of 16. Predictions aside, the fixture should be an enthralling battle between the superior individual skill of the South Americans and the sheer determination of their Asian opponents.

The players
For Argentina, striker Nicolas Mazzola is carrying a slight muscle strain but is nonetheless expected to be in the starting line-up on Sunday. Syria, meanwhile, have concerns over the fitness of Ahmad Alsalih. The defender did not train with the rest of the team this weekend and is not certain to be in Mohamad Aljomaa's side for the opener.

The past
This will be the first meeting between Argentina and Syria at any level. For their part, the Albicelestes are unbeaten against Asian opposition at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, having won four and drawn two of their six previous encounters.

Sunday's tie will be Syria's maiden appearance in the competition, although they have taken part in the FIFA U-20 World Cup on four occasions: Scotland 1989, Italy 1991, Ecuador 1995 and Netherlands 2005.

The words
"We need to try and play our football and stay focused. You can't say that Syria are a weaker nation, football-wise, because they're here in Korea for a reason. And I'm not saying that just to play safe: we're convinced that it's going to be a difficult game." Eduardo Salvio, Argentina striker.

"Argentinian football has a great reputation, but it takes more than a reputation to win matches. I believe my players' desire will be a match for the Argentinians' great technique. We'll be taking to the field to win." Mohamad Al Jomaa, Syria coach.