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FOOTBALL: Man on the edge

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LITTLE TIME: Fabiano must prove he deserves spot on Brazil team

LUIS Fabiano will enter Brazil's match against Argentina today knowing this may be his last chance to show he still deserves a spot in the Brazilian national team.

The 31-year-old Sao Paulo striker started for Brazil at the 2010 World Cup, but this is the first time he has been selected since coach Mano Menezes took over after the team's quarter-final elimination in South Africa.

Fabiano knows he's "running out of time" and wants to impress the coach ahead of next year's Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.

The match in the central Brazilian city of Goiania is the first leg of the Superclassic of the Americas, a home-and-away series between the South American rivals. Only players from local clubs are allowed to participate.

"I want to keep my spot," Fabiano said before Brazil's practice session on Monday. "I know that I'm running out of time. I'm not a kid anymore, so I have to try to do my best to take advantage of this great opportunity that I'm having now."

Fabiano will be the oldest Brazil player in the match. The coach revamped the national team after the World Cup, replacing veterans like Ronaldinho and Kaka with young promising stars such as Neymar, Lucas, Oscar and Leandro Damiao.

Fabiano is receiving another chance thanks in part to his great performances with Sao Paulo in the Brazilian league. He has 11 goals, tied with Fluminense' Fred as the tournament's leading scorer.

"I still don't see myself at the World Cup, we have many players fighting for a spot right now," he said. "But a lot can still happen before the World Cup. There will be a few friendlies until then, and I think that if I'm at 100 per cent in 2014 I can be one of the names in that final list."

He had a series of injuries after the World Cup while playing for Sevilla and then for Sao Paulo, which also made it difficult for him to get another chance with the national team.

"Now that I'm finally back it's up to me to show whether I deserve to stay," he said.

Fabiano secured his spot for the 2010 World Cup after helping Brazil win the Confederations Cup a year earlier, finishing as the tournament's leading scorer with eight goals in five matches. He also was voted the most valuable player in the competition, which is a warm-up for the World Cup.

The powerful forward scored three times in five matches at the World Cup, but was not able to keep Brazil from losing to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

Fabiano has 28 goals in 43 matches for Brazil, who are not involved in South American qualifying for the World Cup because they are the hosts.

The return leg of the Superclassic of the Americas will be played on Oct 3 in the interior Argentine city of Resistencia. Brazil won last year's series 2-0 on aggregate. It is organised by CONMEBOL, South America's football confederation. AP

 


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