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Soccer-Argentina coach Sabella relishes return to Mineirao

Reuters

By Karolos Grohmann

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, June 20 (Reuters) - Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella is looking forward to a successful return to Belo Horizonte's Mineirao stadium against Iran in their World Cup Group F match on Saturday after celebrating his biggest club triumph there.

Sabella coached Argentine club Estudiantes to their 2009 Copa Libertadores victory with a 2-1 return leg win over Brazil's Cruzeiro in the awe-inspiring stadium.

"I have really good memories from here. I was thinking exactly about this when we were coming here today," he told reporters in the bowels of the 58,0000-capacity stadium, built in 1965 and which got a makeover ahead of the World Cup.

"What I remembered is when the bus with our team arrived and my players started to sing, the Cruzeiro fans looked at them thinking they were crazy because my players came with a lot of self-confidence.

"Now I realised that the stadium has been remodelled and I was looking for the scoreboard which read 2-1 then. It's not here."

Estudiantes drew 0-0 at home against their Brazilian rivals before stunning them 2-1 in Belo Horizonte to lift the South American equivalent of Europe's Champions League,

"But I think we will again be sitting on the left team bench like then," Sabella said.

Argentina, among the title favourites in Brazil, are top of their group with three points. Iran and Nigeria have one with Bosnia in last place without a point.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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