Argentina to play Brazil and Japan

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina, looking to move on from a disappointing World Cup and try to win the Copa America at home next year, will meet arch-rivals Brazil in a friendly in Qatar in November.

Looking for games against prominent rivals, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) announced on its website the team would play Japan in Tokyo on Oct. 8 and Brazil in Doha on November 17.

In their second match under coach Sergio Batista, Argentina face world champions Spain at the River Plate stadium on September 7 having already won a friendly 1-0 against Ireland in Dublin this month.

Argentina were knocked out of the World Cup by Germany in the quarter-finals in July and coach Diego Maradona did not have his contract renewed over differences with the AFA concerning his staff.

Batista, like Maradona a member of Argentina's 1986 World Cup-winning team, has retained the core of the squad that went to South Africa while bringing back players surprise omissions like Inter Milan pair Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti.

Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago, another recalled player who was in the side in Dublin, has withdrawn from the squad to face Spain after suffering a knee ligament injury in a club friendly on Tuesday.

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