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Argentine strikers Nicolas Gonzalez, Joaquin Correa out of World Cup

Buenos Aires, Nov 18 (IANS) Argentine football players Nicolas Gonzalez and Joaquin Correa are out of the World Cup due to injuries, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) has said.

Fiorentina forward Gonzalez has been replaced by Angel Correa of Atletico Madrid. Striker Joaquin Correa of Inter Milan will be replaced by Thiago Almada, from Atlanta United, a Major League Soccer team in the United States.

Argentina face Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in their first Group C match, followed by Mexico and Poland, reports Xinhua.

Nunez key to Uruguay’s World Cup hopes: Forlan

Liverpool forward Darwin Nunez will be key to Uruguay’s chances of advancing to the latter stages of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, former Celeste striker Diego Forlan has said.

Nunez, 23, enters the tournament as one of European leagues’ in-form strikers, having scored nine goals in 18 appearances across all competitions since joining Liverpool from Benfica in July.

“He is a footballer with a lot of quality and is shaping up to be a very important member of the [Uruguay] team,” Forlan said in an interview broadcast on Portuguese television.

Forlan, who won the Golden Ball award for the best player at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, added: “He is in very good form just at the right time.”

Uruguay earned a place in Qatar by finishing third in the 10-team South American group qualifiers, behind Brazil and Argentina.

Uruguay will start their World Cup campaign against South Korea on November 24 before also meeting Portugal and Ghana in Group H.

Neymar in ‘excellent’ shape: Marquinhos

Neymar is in peak physical condition as he bids to lead Brazil to a sixth FIFA World Cup title in Qatar, the forward’s Paris Saint-Germain teammate Marquinhos has said.

Brazil will begin the tournament against Serbia on November 24 before also facing Switzerland and Cameroon in Group G.

“The attention and pressure is inevitable, it’s always been like that since he arrived in the national team (in 2010),” Marquinhos said during a break in Brazil’s pre-World Cup training camp in Turin.

“He knows how to deal with it. We all do. We know the importance and the pressure involved with playing in the World Cup. This has to motivate us and drive us to be better prepared to get the best possible result. Neymar … is in excellent physical shape. I know how focused he is and the effort he has made to be fully prepared.”

Neymar has been in impressive form for PSG, having scored 15 goals and provided 12 assists in 19 games for the French club this season.

The 30-year-old has netted 75 times in 121 outings for his country and is poised to break Pele’s all-time Brazil record of 77 goals in this tournament.

–IANS

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