Catalan team to face Argentina

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Catalonia will face the might of Argentina on Wednesday in Barcelona, in their annual friendly.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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Catalonia will face the might of Argentina on Wednesday in Barcelona, in their annual friendly. The 'national' Catalan side is allowed to play one match a year, usually near to Christmas and they try to find the biggest opponents around. The side is not officially recognised – as Catalonia is not recognised as a separate nation. But the players are still proud of their area and keen to represent 'their country.' Annual face-off The Catalans are allowed to play one fixture a year, around Christmas. Last year they faced Brazil. This year their opponents are Argentina. Their coach Angel Alonso is pleased that he continues to find new players for his squad. "It is the first time that there are so many new players. And I am happy to see those seven players that have never played before with us and to see the desire that they have to play and fig ht," said Angel Alonso, Catalonia coach. Despite his team being underdogs, Alonso is confident that they will be a good match for the might of Argentina at Barcelona's Nou Camp. Useful game For Argentina, this match is more of a practise session than a serious fixture. But coach Jose Pekerman believes it is a useful game as it will give him a chance to try out players who do not regularly play for their country. Pekerman was also keen to emphasise on Tuesday that he is not underestimating their opponents. "Even if some figures will be absent tomorrow, the Catalan squad continues with a good standard because the players are famous and they are in good condition and show great individual performances for their respective teams," said Jose Pekerman, Argentina coach. Around 40 thousand fans are expected at the Nou Camp on Wednesday for this match. That's around half that came along for last year's fixture against Brazil. However that is likely to be more a reflection of the popularity of the opponents on both occasions, rather than a lack of support for Catalonia.(AP)