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World Cup: Diego Maradona says 2010 Argentina team is smarter than 1986 edition

June 1, 2010 |  5:25 pm

Argentina won the World Cup in 1986, claiming soccer's top prize for the second time.

Diego Maradona was more or less instrumental in that triumph.

Now, Maradona is Argentina's coach and says that the team he has today is more intelligent than the team he played for in 1986. Or words to that effect.

"In '86, there was a lot of doubt about the side," he said at Argentina's first news conference in Pretoria, South Africa. "The players we have now are at a much higher level than we were in '86 and they understand things better than we did."

Hopefully, one of the things they understand better is that small but annoying rule about the use of hands. Oh, sorry, wasn't supposed to mention that again.

Meanwhile, Maradona said he is unlikely to have figured out his starting 11 until just before Argentina's opening match, against Nigeria on June 12.

"Every practice makes it more difficult for me," he said.

--Grahame L. Jones