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Pekerman to make changes

20 Jun 2006 - 11:37:41

Argentina and Holland have already qualified for the last 16 but Wednesday's game in Frankfurt will determine who tops Group C.

The two teams have won both their matches in the Group of Death but Argentina are ahead of Marco van Basten's side on goal difference having thrashed Serbia & Montenegro 6-0 in the performance of the tournament so far and edging past Ivory Coast 2-1.

A draw would ensure the South Americans play their second round game in Leipzig on June 24 against the Group D runners-up - almost certainly Portugal or Mexico.

Coach Jose Pekerman could make changes to his team with Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez tipped to start after coming on as substitutes and scoring in the Serbia & Montenegro rout.

Gabriel Heinze, Hernan Crespo and Javier Saviola all have one yellow card to their name and could be rested but Pekerman will definitely be without the services of Luis Gonzalez who was injured in Friday's game.

However, the midfielder should have recovered from a groin injury in time to play in the quarter-finals if Argentina reach that stage.

Holland have been less impressive than Pekerman's side in beating Ivory Coast 2-1 and Serbia & Montenegro 1-0 but have done enough to seal their place in the last 16.

Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is set to win his 112th cap on Wednesday, bringing him level with Dutch record holder Frank de Boer but van Basten is expected to rest Arjen Robben, Mark van Bommel and Giovanni van Bronckhorst who are all currently on one yellow card.

The Dutch currently have no serious injury problems although Phillip Cocu and John Heitinga missed training on Saturday with minor injuries.

Van Basten has hinted that he could make up to six changes to his starting line-up, saying: "Where we think it will be a risk to start with certain players, we have to make a choice. There is no difference between strikers and defenders - strikers can get booked too."


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