Maradona finds answers in hammering of Haiti

CUTRAL-CO - Argentina's 4-0 thumping of Haiti on Wednesday helped solve some World Cup selection issues, coach Diego Maradona said.

Maradona is due to name his provisional 30-man squad on Monday. The definitive squad of 23 must be named by June 1 for the finals in South Africa starting on June 11.

"The lads understood the message very well, they had attitude, created chances, I liked several players very much, now we have to sit down and think about it," Maradona said in a touchline interview with TyC Sports after the final whistle.

"The truth is I was looking for people (to fill World Cup gaps) and I think I found some," he added, without wanting to elaborate. "I had doubts about some positions and this match was very useful... no-one has their place assured."

Maradona has called up more than 100 players in his 18 months in charge, many of whom were locally based and never got on the pitch.

Ultimately, though, it is Argentina's leading European exiles who are almost certainly going to make up the bulk of his World Cup 23.

Boca Juniors striker Martin Palermo, a near certainty to go to the finals, stole between the centre backs of the weak Haitian opposition to head the second goal on Wednesday from point blank range off an exquisite chipped cross by right back Ariel Garce just before halftime.

Palermo was cut on the chin by a splinter from a flare thrown onto the pitch before kickoff but played after treatment.

Garce, a versatile 31-year-old former River Plate defender who is a centre back for his club Colon and had won his two previous caps in 2003, had a good game on the right flank and it would be no surprise if he sneaked into the reckoning.

Teenage midfielder Facundo Bertoglio scored twice, putting Argentina in front just past the half hour when he robbed a defender in the middle and raced into the box to steer the ball past the keeper.

Midfielder Sebastian Blanco made it three early in the second half and Bertoglio rounded off the victory in the 56th minute when he met a free kick on the left and beat the keeper at the near post for his second.

The proceeds of the match in Cutral-Co, a town in the southern Andean foothills, will go towards Haiti earthquake relief.

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