Maradona spoilt for in-form forwards

BUENOS AIRES - Coach Diego Maradona faces a World Cup selection dilemma of a different kind from the qualifiers with so many Argentina forwards in top form in Europe.

"I'm happy, we have all the Argentine goalscorers scoring goals in all the leagues in Europe and they're all showing they want to be (at the World Cup)," Maradona told reporters after a fact-finding tour of Europe.

"It will be a good, very open fight and it will be difficult for me to leave some out because they're scoring incredible goals ... but I have to take 23 players."

Maradona has called up a hundred players during his tenure since late 2008 as he searched for a winning formula during the qualifiers in which Argentina were in danger of failing to reach the finals for the first time since 1970.

He could not find a formula in which Lionel Messi could replicate his brilliant Barcelona form and only opted for Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain in the last two games against Peru and Uruguay that Argentina needed to win.

Now, he finds he has a surplus of riches up front, having watched Messi score a second successive hat-trick, Higuain find the net with ease, Diego Milito score for Inter Milan and Carlos Tevez for Manchester City.

"Messi looked fantastic, full of energy, happy ... He's maturing in giant strides," said Maradona.

"Messi is another I'm certainly taking (to the South Africa finals) as a first-choice player alongside (midfielder and captain Javier) Mascherano," he said.

Twice world champions Argentina meet Nigeria, Greece and South Korea in Group B at the finals that kick off on June 11.

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