Brazil 0-1 Argentina: The best pictures from the Melbourne friendly

Argentina gained a confidence-boosting 1-0 win over Brazil in their Superclasico in Melbourne Friday ahead of their make-or-break World Cup qualifiers later in the year.

A goal from Sevilla defender Gabriel Mercado right on half-time proved the eventual winner as Argentina matched the world’s number one ranked Brazilians before 95,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The two-time world champions and second ranked team are struggling outside the automatic qualifying positions in fifth spot in the South American group with four games left while Brazil have already qualified for Russia next year.

Argentina have a friendly in Singapore next week ahead of their crucial next qualifier against Uruguay in Montevideo on August 31.

In manager Jorge Sampaoli’s first game in charge Argentina weathered a second-half fightback from Brazil with Gabriel Jesus and Willian hitting either posts in one flurry on goal.

Argentina’s superstar and skipper Lionel Messi was largely contained by the Brazilian defence, but thrilled the crowd with his touches, flicks and darting runs in his much-anticipated appearance in Australia.

Mercado put Argentina ahead just on half-time with a tap in after Nicolas Otamendi’s header came off the upright into his path.

The Argentines had more of the play with Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel Di Maria a constant threat on the left.

Brazil’s best chance came midway through the opening half when Chelsea’s Willian was set free and he found Liverpool’s lively Philippe Coutinho in Argentina’s penalty area.

Coutinho checked inside and lined up a shot but a diving tackle by Otamendi smothered the scoring chance.

Juventus midfielder Paulo Dybala linked up well with Messi behind striker Gonzalo Higuain and fired just wide moments before Mercado’s goal.

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Brazil 0-1 Argentina: Five things we learned

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Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 in a friendly in Australia on Friday as Jorge Sampaoli won his first game in charge.

Sevilla’s Gabriel Mercado scored the winner at the MCG and, here, we look at five things we learned from the game and what is next for the nations.

TITE HAS STILL TURNED BRAZIL AROUND

Manager Tite, a former Corinthians players and head coach, took charge of Brazil after Dunga’s second spell as boss ended in disaster.

Brazil had failed to qualify from the group stages of the Copa America in 2016 and were lacking confidence.

Before Friday, Tite had won all of his nine games and Brazil lead the South American qualifying section by 11 points ahead of Colombia, after being sixth when he took over, with the streak of wins securing them a place at next summer’s World Cup.

Despite defeat against Argentina they played with confidence and verve and it seems Tite has brought Brazil’s swagger back.

SAMPAOLI HAS MADE AN INSTANT IMPACT

Argentina turned to Sampaoli last month after just one season at Sevilla and he would have been encouraged by his first game in charge. His team are fourth in qualifying for next year’s World Cup and in danger of missing the tournament in Russia completely.

Three coaches in the campaign tells its own story after Gerardo Martino and Edgardo Bauza tried and failed to get their campaign up and running.

His old Sevilla defender Gabriel Mercado got him off the mark and Sampaoli will hope victory can give them a platform to rescue their World Cup hopes.

MESSI’S SCHEDULE HAS TAKEN ITS TOLL

The Barcelona forward was back from suspension after missing the 2-0 defeat to Bolivia in March which cost Bauza his job.

Messi was on a promotional tour in China last week and jetted in separately from the squad to join his team-mates in Australia.

He scored 54 goals in 52 games for Barcelona last season but looked a little jaded at the MCG as Brazil kept him relatively quiet in the first half.

Messi has been a key player for Argentina, having retired and then quickly backtracked last year, but he could not make the difference on Friday.

GABRIEL JESUS SHINES WITH SERGIO AGUERO MISSING

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus was Brazil’s biggest goal threat and arguably should have scored instead of hitting the post in the second half.

The 20-year-old scored seven goals in 10 games in the Premier League last season after his January arrival, and he will only get better.

Against Argentina he proved his talent and showed he is Aguero’s heir apparent at Manchester City.

Sampaoli has not ruled out an Argentina return for Aguero, who was left out of this squad, but Jesus showed he is the future at City.

A GOALKEEPING POWER BATTLE IN MANCHESTER

Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero played the full game for Argentina as new Manchester City signing Ederson watched on from the Brazil bench.

Should David De Gea leave Old Trafford this summer, then Romero – who made several key stops on Friday – looks destined for the number one spot. That would leave two of South America’s best goalkeepers playing out next season as cross-city rivals.

Provided by Press Association

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Five England U-20 players who stood out in South Korea

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England have reached their first World Cup final appearance at any level since 1966 after manager Paul Simpson guided his Under-20s side to a 3-1 victory over Italy in the semi-finals in Jeonju.

Here, we look at the five players that have stood out for England at the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.

LEWIS COOK | BOURNEMOUTH

The England captain has led the team by example on their way to Sunday’s final against Venezuela. The Bournemouth midfielder’s composure in possession has been the catalyst for many of the Young Lions’ attacks and he has laid on three assists in the tournament so far as well as scoring in the 1-1 draw against Guinea in the group stages.

Cook’s tough-tackling style differs from the flair players in the forward line but he is an important component of the England set-up, and someone who has already tasted international success with the Under-17s at the 2014 European Championship.

DOMINIC SOLANKE | LIVERPOOL

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be licking his lips at the performances of new recruit Solanke as the frontman leads England”s scoring charts in the competition.

The 19-year-old has swapped Premier League champions Chelsea for Anfield this summer and he has also marked his authority on the England side with four goals in South Korea, including the match-winner against Mexico in the quarter-finals and two against Italy in the last four – that despite playing in an unfamiliar number 10 position. Solanke was also part of the Under-17 European Championship-winning team in 2014.

ADEMOLA LOOKMAN | EVERTON

The Everton winger has been vital to England’s run to the final with three goals so far. However, it has been his flair and pace that has been the thorn in all the defences he has faced with his positive, attacking wing play proving beneficial to Simpson’s system.

After being an unused substitute in the opening group match, Lookman has started every game en route to the final in Suwon and he scored both goals in the 2-1 victory against Costa Rica in the last 16.

JONJOE KENNY | EVERTON

Alongside Cook and Solanke, the Everton defender was also part of the Under-17 European Championship-winning team in Malta and has progressed to become an important member of the Under-21 set-up.

Kenny has started every match in South Korea, one of only four England players to do so, with his outstanding work-rate and defensively capabilities helping Simpson’s side keep three clean sheets from their six matches. He has also had a hand in the attacking third with three assists.

SHEYI OJO | LIVERPOOL

The Liverpool man has been a bit-part player in the tournament so far but he had a massive part in the semi-final win over Italy. England were trailing 1-0 when Ojo replaced Everton midfielder Kieran Dowell in the 54th minute but the 19-year-old made an instant impact by setting up the Young Lions’ first two goals to turn the match around.

The link-up with Kenny on the right severely limited Italy’s attack and his contribution to the victory could land him a starting place in the final.

Provided by Press Association

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