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Argentina

  • Story Highlights
  • Dark horses Argentina face fight to qualify for quarter-finals for the second time
  • Pumas drawn with hosts France and Ireland in so-called 'Group of Death'
  • Center Martin Gaitan had to pull out of World Cup after suffering a heart attack
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Pool D | World ranking: 6

art.pichot.gi.jpg

Pumas skipper Agustin Pichot

Coach: Marcelo Loffreda
Key players: Federico Todeschini, Felipe Contepomi, Agustin Pichot
Past record: Quarter-finals 1999; Pool stages 1987, 1991, 1995, 2003

Pool D results & fixtures:
September 7: Argentina 17-12 France, Saint-Denis
September 11: Argentina 33-3 Georgia, Lyon
September 22: Argentina 63-3 Namibia, Marseille
September 30: Argentina 30-15 Ireland, Paris

Quarterfinals:
October 7:
Argentina 19-13 Scotland, Saint-Denis

Semifinals:
October 14:
Argentina 13-37 South Africa, Saint-Denis

Third and fourth-place play-off:
October 19:
v France, Saint-Denis 2100 (1900 GMT)

Pre-tournament preview:

Argentina have been hit by serious injuries ahead of the tournament but are still tipped to put the cat among the pigeons in Pool D - the widely-acknowledged 'Group of Death'.

The Pumas will open the tournament against France at the Stade de France under a cloud after losing center Martin Gaitan because of heart trouble and full-back Jose Maria Nunez Piossek due to a thigh injury.

But Marcelo Loffreda's side have an excellent record against the French and, ranked sixth in the world, are more than capable of causing an upset against Ireland.

Their strength has traditionally been in their ferocious forward pack, known for its mighty scrummaging, but Loffreda has managed to add more potency in the backs with the development of the likes of wing Ignacio Corleto and new prodigy fly-half Federico Todeschini guided by veteran scrum-half Agustin Pichot.

If they can upset the Irish and finish second in the group then a likely quarter-final clash with New Zealand awaits - the top placer will most likely face Scotland or Italy in the last eight. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Federico TodeschiniMarcelo Loffreda

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