Injured Veron out of Argentine team - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Injured Veron out of Argentine team

17/06/2010 09:33:37 AM Comments (0)

Argentina midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron will not play in the team's second World Cup match against South Korea because of an injury and will be replaced by Maxi Rodriguez.

Veron has an injury to his right calf and coach Diego Maradona doesn't want to risk aggravating the injury in Thursday's Group B match.

"I gave him my reasons and he understood," Maradona said Wednesday, adding that the rest of the starting lineup would be same as against Nigeria. "I need Veron. We know that if tomorrow we lose Veron, the team would not be the same."

The veteran midfielder could return for the team's final group match against Greece on June 22 or maybe later in the tournament, Maradona said. Argentina defeated Nigeria 1-0 in its first game, while South Korea beat Greece 2-0.

"Even though we are losing a great player, Maxi Rodriguez will do a fantastic job," Maradona said.

Maradona said that both Argentina teams - the expected starters and those likely to be on the bench against South Korea - had scrimmages against youth squads Tuesday and "played incredibly and there were practically no differences between them."

"I have 23 starters, no doubt about it," Maradona said.

Maradona said his team was confident and would "play to win" against South Korea, a team he said relied heavily on set plays and played a less physical game than Nigeria.

"South Korea ... is very fast, they have a good team, they're respectable, but we are going to play to win," Maradona said. "Every time we crashed against a Nigerian player, it was like crashing into a wall. Against a South Korean it's a more even contest."

Asked about reported comments from South Korea coach Huh Jung-moo that his team would use "tactical fouls" to stop forward Lionel Messi, Maradona said it would be up to the referees to put an end to "staggering."

That would involve having several different players foul Messi - thus lowering the chances of one of them getting carded. Also, South Korea could commit fouls not serious enough to draw a card but which nonetheless could break the flow of Messi's game and make it difficult for him to fully display his skills.

"The tactical foul is a resource ... but the referee can hand out yellow or red cards if he sees that the South Korean players are staggering and not letting Messi play," Maradona said.

Maradona said he was very happy with Messi's play and to see the 2009 FIFA player of the year "calm and mature."

"Messi needed a game like this. He demonstrated a kind of leadership I hadn't seen from him in a long time," Maradona said about the Barcelona player's performance against Nigeria. "He is reaching fullness as a player. In football terms, Nigeria 'died' when Messi and (Carlos) Tevez had the ball."

Messi showed some of his brilliant dribbling and passing skills against Nigeria and was unable to score only because of the outstanding play of Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

While Messi is currently considered the world's best footballer, his uneven play for Argentina during World Cup qualifying - where the team struggled - greatly frustrated fans in his native country.

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