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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 5, 2006

Basile defends Riquelme after Brazil loss

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Argentina coach Alfio Basile defended Juan Roman Riquelme after the playmaker was widely criticised for a lacklustre performance in the 3-0 defeat by Brazil.

'I like Riquelme,' Basile told reporters at Buenos Aires airport on Tuesday. 'It's my problem. I like him even if you don't.'

The gravel-voiced coach, who replaced Jose Pekerman following the World Cup, played down Sunday's result in his first game in charge.

'The result doesn't interest me and it wouldn't have interested me if we had won either. It was simply that the other team took their chances and we didn't.

'The important thing was to get to know the lads and to spend some time with them.

Argentina Football Association (AFA) president Julio Grondona voiced his support for Basile.

'This squad has some very good lads such as (Lionel) Messi, (Sergio) Aguero and (Carlos) Tevez,' he told Argentine media.

'I have complete confidence in them and in Basile. They're going to bring us many happy moments. 'We have to wait for the new coach to develop his style. Basile knows his stuff, he picks the right players and he knows the national team.'

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