Romario returns to lift Brazil's self-belief

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The Independent Football

Brazil's caretaker coach, Candinho, is set to use a nucleus of Vasco da Gama players for tomorrow's World Cup qualifier against Venezuela in Maracaibo as his team attempts to forget the embarrassing defeat by nine-man Cameroon in the Olympic tournament, the result which brought about the sacking of Wanderley Luxemburgo.

Brazil's caretaker coach, Candinho, is set to use a nucleus of Vasco da Gama players for tomorrow's World Cup qualifier against Venezuela in Maracaibo as his team attempts to forget the embarrassing defeat by nine-man Cameroon in the Olympic tournament, the result which brought about the sacking of Wanderley Luxemburgo.

Candinho, who takes charge of Brazil for the first time, has dispensed with the young players involved in the Olympic tournament and instead has called up proven goalscorer Romario and Vasco da Gama team-mates Juninho Pernambucano, Juninho and Euller.

In an attempt to re-create the atmosphere of a settled team Candinho has also called up Cleber, Donizete and Ricardinho from Cruzeiro.

"Let's try to take advantage of the understanding that already exists between these players," said Candinho. "Both [clubs] are in a good phase."

A convincing win against Venezuela will ease the pressure on Brazil, who are fourth in the South American qualifying group. Candinho has said he will stand down after the Venezuela game in solidarity with Luxemburgo, who was dismissed on 30 September.

Venezuela, who are bottom of the group, will be without Gabriel Urdeneta, arguably their most creative player, who is undergoing surgery for appendicitis.

Meanwhile, the group leaders Argentina are gearing up for a clash with second-placed Uruguay, who are managed by the former Argentinian World Cup-winning captain Daniel Passarella. Argentina, who have been hit hard by injuries, hope that Gabriel Batistuta will be fit to play. He suffered a recurrence of a knee injury in Roma's Serie A match against Bologna last Sunday.

River Plate playmaker Pablo Aimar and Lazio's Juan Sebastian Veron are very doubtful and will undergo late fitness tests while Hernan Crespo, Ariel Ortega, Javier Zanetti, Roberto Sensini and Matias Almeyda are all definitely out of action.

Pasarella has hinted he may employ a five-man midfield. But Federico Magallanes and Alvaro Recoba are still seen as the most likely strike force. Uruguay will be without the striker Dario Silva and their captain Paolo Montero.

Paraguay's eccentric goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert has been doing his best to provoke Colombia ahead of their clash. He accused the Colombian press of whipping up hostility toward the Paraguayan team and has refused to talk to their reporters. Paraguay are currently on 14 points, one behind second-placed Colombia.

Colombia are awaiting a fitness report on the River Plate striker Juan Pablo Angel, who is the leading scorer in the Argentine league.

Chile travel to Ecuador with both teams hungry for a win to keep alive their qualifying chances. Chile will be without David Pizarro, who has a knee injury, while striker Marcelo Salas is doubtful, also with a knee problem.

Group strugglers Bolivia and Peru meet in La Paz with the Coventry City striker Ysrael Zuñiga expected to play for Peru despite missing his flight to Lima on Monday. In the CONCACAF region Mexico take on Trinidad and Tobago.

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