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Veron's World Cup chances dealt another blow

Written by: Staff

BUENOS AIRES, Apr 5 (Reuters) Argentina midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron's remote chances of playing at the World Cup dwindled further after his ugly clash with captain Juan Pablo Sorin during yesterday's Champions League match.

Today, Argentina television showed numerous replays of the incidents involving the two players who were on opposite sides when Spain's Villarreal beat Inter Milan 1-0 to reach the semi-finals.

The two were seen pushing and insulting each other on several occasions following an ugly tackle by Inter's Veron on Sorin early in the game.

At halftime, they had to be separated by other players.

Veron has not been picked since Jose Pekerman took over as Argentina coach in October 2004 while Sorin has been made the captain.

Pekerman has always said that Veron -- who many blamed for Argentina's shock first round exit in 2002 World Cup -- had been absent for tactical reasons while Veron himself has said that he does not understand his exclusion.

Argentina Football Association (AFA) president Julio Grondona said in a television interview he did not think Veron would be going to Germany.

''Did you think before this that Veron could be in the list,'' he said. When his interviewer replied no, Grondona said. ''I think the same as you.'' Earlier in the week, Grondona had given another interview in which he had talked about the importance of harmony in the national team camp.

Although he did not mention Veron by name, the comments were interpreted as referring to the Inter Milan player.

Sorin declined to explain the incident in a radio interview from Spain.

''It was a reaction of his but it's staying on the field,'' he said.

The sports daily Ole said: ''With this episode, Veron has closed the door of the national team even more.'' Reuters PG VP0325

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