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Argentina vs. Brazil: Key Facts That Will Set the Tone of the International Friendly

Argentina vs. Brazil: Key Facts That Will Set the Tone of the International Friendly

Posted by Laura Zúñiga on October 09, 2014

Brazil and Argentina will clash in the latest South American Superclasico encounter in Beijing this weekend, with the two sides meeting with full-strength squads for the first time since 2012.

Lionel Messi came up trumps in New Jersey that day, scoring a hat-trick against a Brazil side deep in preparations for the London Olympic Games. It was a thrilling tie, finishing 4-3 in favour of Messi and his cohorts.

Following rather different World Cup experiences this summer, despite both finishing in the final four, it will be an interesting marker of the current state of development of both sides ahead of next summer's Copa America.

Where, then, will the game in China be won and lost?

Can Brazil Contain Lionel Messi?

It almost goes without stating in games involving Lionel Messi that his performance and ability to influence proceedings will go a long way to deciding the overall outcome.

While Neymar and Angel Di Maria are both wonderful players capable of conjuring moments of pure magic at any opportunity, Messi is just another notch higher on the scale of brilliance.

A lot of responsibility will fall upon defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo when it comes to dealing with his threat, but Brazil will have to ensure he is not overworked when the likes of Di Maria and Sergio Aguero move into similar areas of the field.

Dunga will have to think more about his strategy for this tie than he did against either Ecuador or Colombia last time out, with Messi's unique threat cause for special attention.

Will Dunga's Counter-Attacking Pay Dividends?

Argentina's defence was widely derided prior to the World Cup earlier this summer and gained a great deal of respect for their fine performances in reaching the final. However, there can be no denying that they lack pace as a unit.

Generally, that will not prove too great an issue for them moving forward, but Dunga's is a Brazil side designed to attack with speed and precision. No longer is there a Fred-like figure in attack, rather a quartet of Oscar, Willian, Diego Tardelli and Neymar that possesses speed in abundance.

On paper, it will be Brazil's best chance of opening up Argentina. If they can draw the likes of Javier Mascherano forward and leave the centre-backs (potentially Federico Fernandez and Martin Demichelis) exposed, the Selecao could enjoy a profitable evening in the Chinese capital.

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