Soccer-Sabella ponders Argentina's defensive frailties


By Rex Gowar

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Argentina boast firepower second to none but coach Alejandro Sabella wore a frown during and after his team's 3-2 defeat by Uruguay in their closing World Cup qualifier.

Sabella said Argentina would go to the Brazil finals next year to win the country's third title and with an attack that includes Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria few would belittle their chances.

But Argentine media are worried about defensive frailties and the second string side that played against Uruguay, with only two first choice players in goalkeeper Sergio Romero and centre back Federico Fernandez, was often at sea in the face of the quick and skilled Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

"I'll analyse the match again to see the failings, we all had low and high points," Sabella told reporters after the Rio de la Plata clasico at the Centenario in Montevideo.

"There are two more friendlies (next month) in which we'll see if we need some player in particular to try him out but I have the satisfaction of what this group did."attack

Argentina, who won the South American group with 32 points from 16 matches including nine wins and two defeats, will meet two other qualified teams which could be Russia and Bosnia in the United States.

Sabella has not given in to pressure to name all the certainties in the squad he will take to Brazil but he has good back up in attack as shown by winger Maxi Rodriguez.

The veteran of two World Cups has transferred his fine club form with Argentine champions and league leaders Newell's Old Boys seamlessly to the national team and scored two fine goals against Uruguay.

"Maxi is practical, versatile, dynamic He has that quota of aggression for scoring and is in superb form," said Sabella.

Sabella put world champions Spain and Germany a notch above the rest of the World Cup favourites.

"I think Spain, Germany and Brazil, as hosts, are up there. We have a great potential, history and pride, we'll go for that," said Sabella, who will be going to his second finals after being Daniel Passarella's right hand man in France in 1998 when Argentina reached the quarter-finals.

Argentina have not got beyond the last eight since the 1990 final in Rome, their second final in a row and fourth overall. (Reporting by Rex Gowar, editing by Justin Palmer)

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