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Mascherano playing for Argentina

Mascherano is set to play for his country for the 100th time / PHOTO: FIFA.COM

The Barça players in Brazil have continued their preparations for their next World Cup fixtures. Next up are Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano with Argentina, who can ensure qualification with a win over Iran. And it could be a special day for Mascherano, for if he plays (as expected) then it’ll be his 100th cap for his country. Of his previous 99 appearances, ten have been in World Cups, and the ‘little chief’ has scored three goals.

Mascherano, like club and country colleague Leo Messi, is playing in his third finals, and both are regular starters under Alejandro Sabella. After beating Bosnia in the first match, a win over either Iran or Nigeria in their remaining games would be enough to put the 1978 and 1986 champions into the last sixteen.

Spain back in Curitiba

On Thursday, Vicente del Bosque’s Spain returned to Curitiba, the same place where their Brazilian journey began two weeks ago. They’re preparing for their final group game against Australia, a meaningless tie for both sides, who both lost their first two games against Holland and Chile.

In the meantime, Chile and Holland will be contesting top spot in the group, which would theoretically avoid a second round meeting with hosts Brazil. For the former, Barça’s Alexis has been one of the most outstanding players of the tournament so far.

Strange session for Brazil

Neymar and Dani Alves are two of the protagonists of a peculiar video of a training session released by the Brazilian Football Confederation. It shows them working out in the gym and a swimming pool as they prepare for their final group match against Cameroon. Song is suspended for that game after being sent off against Croatia. Cameroon are already out of the tournament, while a draw would be enough to see the Brazilians through to the knockout stages.

 

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