Argentina coach Alfio Basile appears undecided whether to field mercurial playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme in tomorrow's FIFA World Cup™ qualifier against neighbours Uruguay.
Basile, under increasing pressure after six successive draws in qualifiers and friendlies, has repeatedly expressed his admiration for the elegant but erratic Boca Juniors player, who has started all eight qualifiers so far. However, some indifferent performances from Riquelme, who was this week involved in a public row with a Boca team mate who questioned his recent displays, may prompt the gravel-voiced coach to think again.
In training sessions this week, Basile has tested the first team with and without Riquelme. Forwards Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero were both rested from training on Thursday but team sources said they were certain to be fit.
Argentina are third in the 10-team South American qualifying group with 13 points from eight games, one point ahead of their opponents. The confident Uruguayans, who last won in Buenos Aires in a Copa America semi-final in 1987, have promised not to hide in defence. Forward Sebastian Abreu stirred the rivalry by suggesting his team were achieving more than Argentina with fewer resources.
"We have to show them that Argentina are Argentina and that it's not going to be easy for them," retorted striker Carlos Tevez, recalled by Basile despite two sendings-off in his last three outings. "We are playing in Argentina and they have to have some respect."