Falklands still a factor for fired-up Cavallero

By Mark Pierson
Friday 20 December 2013 05:53

Revenge for Argentina's defeat in the Falklands War is all the motivation the goalkeeper Pablo Cavallero needs in Friday's World Cup meeting with England.

Cavallero was eight years old in 1982 when Argentina and Britain fought over theFalkland Islands, but the war is still remembered in Argentina. "Maybe you shouldn't mix things like football and the war, but it's really hard not to do it," he said. "It is the match [against England] that any Argentinian wants to play, especially if you lost friends or family in 1982."

Cavallero, who plays for Celta Vigo in Spain, said Argentinians cherish the memory of their 2-1 World Cup quarter-final victory over England at the Mexico finals in 1986. "We enjoyed the victory in Mexico, with both Maradona's goals. I guess there was born a myth, and a derby between these two teams," said Cavallero, who made his World Cup debut in Saturday's 1-0 win over Nigeria. That performance was good enough for him to be retained for the England game.

Meanwhile, Cavellero's compatriot, the Manchester United midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron, said he has nothing to prove against the English.

"Of course for me this match is like a derby, but I am only thinking of the good of Argentina, I don't want revenge," said the 27-year-old, who came under sustained criticism during United's failed title defence. "We have the philosophy of thinking only match by match and it is now time to think of England, even if we know clearly our final aim."

Elsewhere in Group F, Sweden's joint-coach Lars Lagerback believes Nigeria, who his side face on Friday, will be more difficult to tackle than England because of their unpredictability. Lagerback is banking on the fitness of his players, which told during their second-half fightback against England.

"It is a little more difficult with Nigeria as they are more unpredictable," Lagerback said. "They have a lot of individual skills and sometimes when you see them they can play very well together and sometimes they seem not so interested."

It is a must-win game for Festus Onigbinde's men after their 1-0 defeat against Argentina, and Lagerback wonders which Nigeria will turn up.

"You never know what they will do," he said. "You know they can defend very well but how will they attack? It is much easier for us to have a game against England than against Nigeria."

Sweden's captain Patrik Andersson, who missed the England game with a groin strain, may be fit to play against Nigeria. Asked if he expected the defender to be fit for Friday's game from the injury he suffered in training on Saturday, the Swedish team doctor, Magnus Forssblad, said: "Yes, from a medical point of view. Yesterday [Sunday], we did an MRI scan and it showed no bleeding or rupture. He cycled today and it was OK, and [today] we'll let him run and see what's happening."

The Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg has played down reports linking him with a move to Italy, where rumours have circulated that Juventus are targeting the free-scoring Arsenal man. But Ljungberg, who scored 17 goals last season as Arsenal won the league and cup double, was tight-lipped.

"Now I want to think about the World Cup, I will talk later about the future," he said. The 25-year-old moved to Highbury from Halmstad in 1998.

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