World Cup 2006 factfile: Argentina

BERLIN, June 28, 2006 (AFP) – Factfile on Argentina who play Germany in a World Cup quarter-finals tie here on Friday:-

– Previous World Cup appearances: 13 (1930, 1934, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002)
– World Cup winners: 2 (1978, 1986); Runners-up 2 (1930, 1990)
– Copa America winners: 14 (1921, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1937, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1991, 1993)
FIFA world ranking: 9
Odds: 7/2

Coach: Jose Pekerman
Elevated to the national team hotseat in 2004 after the sudden departure of Marcelo Bielsa, Pekerman came to the senior side after guiding Argentina’s under-20s to three youth World Cups and has introduced many of his proteges into the present squad while leaving out several more experienced players.
The respected 56-year-old had already turned down an offer to coach the side in 1998 saying he did not have enough experience, but did not hesitate when offered the position six years later.

Key player: Juan Roman Riquelme
Sublimely gifted playmaker who is the attacking fulcrum of the Argentinian side. Lacks pace, but his superb control and positional awareness make him devilishly hard to mark.
Career has taken off since he was let go by Barcelona and headed to Villarreal, whose run to the semi-finals of the Champions League was largely down to the inspirational Riquelme.
Overshadowed by determined figure of Juan Pablo Sorin in opening win against Ivory Coast but to the fore again in the 6-0 demolition of Serbia and Montenegro and will be one of many players feared by Germany on Friday.