Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella feels two upcoming games against Brazil will give him a good idea of where his squad is as they build up to the 2014 World Cup.
The 56-year-old took charge of the national team this summer after the side’s disappointing showing in the Copa America and the rebuilding process has begun. Anyone looking at the football betting will be expecting the side to qualify, but a lot of attention will be paid to their style of play, which has been criticised lately.
Argentina will face their South American rivals both home and away in September – the home match takes place on Wednesday and the return fixture will be in Belem to two weeks time (September 28).
None of the European-based players will be available for selection for either coach, but Sabella will get the chance to work with the best players from the domestic leagues and gauge what he has at his disposal.
The new boss said: “We’ll test the form of local players. Most of the players of this team are abroad, but all the players are proud of wearing the Argentina shirt and representing our country.”
Unfortunately for Sabella, two of the most experienced players, Juan Sebastian Veron and Juan Roman Riquelme, will be missing from the squad.
Both players have muscle injuries and contacted the manager over the weekend to inform him that they would not be fit to play.
Sabella, who had a spell as a player in England with Sheffield United and Leeds in the late 70s and early 80s, has enjoyed a decent start to his tenure so far.
His first game in charge saw a friendly win over Venezuela and he then went on to beat African nation Nigeria. Although the football odds indicated these would be easy wins, the manager will no doubt be pleased to have started in such a positive manner.
But Brazil will certain pose the biggest challenge to date, as Argentina prepare for their World Cup qualifying opener against Chile on October 7.