Maradona requests Rosario for Brazil battle

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina want to play arch-rivals Brazil at Rosario Central and not River Plate in their World Cup qualifier on September 5 to generate more support from the fans, coach Diego Maradona said on Thursday. Players had asked to move the game to Rosario Central's tight Gigante de Arroyito ground because they needed more support as they sought a place at the 2010 finals in South Africa, he said. "The other day in Ecuador (the crowd) ...they all shouted and here (in Buenos Aires) nothing happens," Maradona said complaining of the lack of atmosphere at River. "'We need more support (from the fans)' is what the players always said to me so that's why we'll go to Rosario," he told Radio La Red. River's Monumental stadium has a running track around the pitch and the crowd is not close to the action. Maradona was also scathing last month about the state of River's stadium and pitch, which had held a rock concert days before the laboured 1-0 win over Colombia on June 6. Argentina are fourth in the South America group five points behind leaders Brazil. The top four qualify automatically and the team finishing fifth will meet the fourth-placed nation in the CONCACAF region for another berth in South Africa. Argentine Football Association president Julio Grondona said world governing body FIFA would inspect Central's installations to see if they pass requirements for World Cup qualifiers. Rosario, Argentina's second city 400 km north of Buenos Aires, held 1978 World Cup matches at the stadium.


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