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Jun 20, 2014

Argentina and Iran unable to train at Mineirao

Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz says his players must now prepare for their biggest challenge in the country's footballing history when they face Argentina.

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) - Argentina and Iran were not allowed to train on Friday in the Mineirao Stadium ahead of their Group F match because of concerns over the state of the pitch.

After inspecting the pitch on Friday, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said it was OK but not as good as the pitch at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, where his team played its first match.

FIFA said in an email to The Associated Press that there was no specific problem at the Mineirao, "just the will to preserve the stadium pitch for the match."

Saturday's match between Argentina and Iran will be the third World Cup match at the stadium in Belo Horizonte.

Argentina trained at their base on the outskirts of the city, while Iran trained at the Independencia stadium in Belo Horizonte. That stadium was built for the 1950 World Cup but is not hosting any matches this time.

"I think it is a good decision to keep the main pitch reserved for the match," Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said. "The players deserve to have an intact pitch."

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