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Football World Cup: ..BUT THIS TIME ARGENTINA ARE PINNING ALL THEIR HOPES ON THE REAL CLAUDIO.

Byline: MARTIN LIPTON

RANGERS star Claudio Caniggia was yesterday heralded as the key to Argentina's World Cup dream by boss Marcelo Bielsa.

Bielsa is continuing to dismiss critics who claim that the 35-year-old striker is too old to play in the finals.

In fact, many expect Bielsa to pair Gabriel Batistuta and Caniggia up front for the first time since 1996, despite having a combined age of 68.

Bielsa said: "Caniggia always thinks more about attacking than defending.

"He can play so well on the wing and although he has a slight knee injury I am confident he will be able to play.

"He is an important player for us - there are only a few like him in the whole planet."

Both Caniggia and Batistuta are excited about the prospect of forming a World Cup strike force and they have told the world not to cry for Argentina, a country in a state of turmoil and financial decline.

Batistuta said: "Our country is suffering a lot. We must help by playing well and winning.

"That won't change the situation at home but it will help make people feel better and unite everyone."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 31, 2002
Words:192
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