I can still deliver for Brazil: Miranda

Miranda celebrating after scoring deep in stoppage time against Argentina in a friendly in Jeddah on Tuesday. The veteran defender believes he is still in good shape and wants to carry on playing for Brazil.
Miranda celebrating after scoring deep in stoppage time against Argentina in a friendly in Jeddah on Tuesday. The veteran defender believes he is still in good shape and wants to carry on playing for Brazil.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

JEDDAH • He may be 34, but Miranda insisted he is far from done in the yellow shirt of Brazil after he scored a dramatic 93rd-minute header to help his side snatch a 1-0 friendly win over Argentina.

In front of a sell-out crowd in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Inter Milan centre-back was left all alone to thump in Neymar's corner when the fierce South American rivalry seemed destined for a stalemate.

The lapse spoilt an otherwise strong defensive performance from Argentina, who contained Brazil for long periods on Tuesday.

"Despite my age, I've been able to show that I'm in good physical shape and, of course, I want to keep playing for the national team because I still have a lot to show in this jersey," said Miranda, who scored his third goal in 53 appearances.

"Scoring a goal against Argentina is always gratifying and always exciting."

While Brazil named a strong team including Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino alongside Neymar in attack, Argentina were without a host of top stars, including Lionel Messi.

Brazil coach Tite said: "Argentina created chances to score, tried to win, but Brazil were better and the team's performance was rewarded with the goal.

"It (Miranda's winner) could have been another time, but it was in the end. The team were concentrating. The corner was the result of the volume of play that we put in."

Also missing from the Argentina line-up were forward Sergio Aguero, winger Angel di Maria and striker Gonzalo Higuain.

Messi has sat out Argentina's last four matches, all friendlies, since their disappointing last-16 elimination at the World Cup. He is believed to have asked for some time off from international duty ahead of next year's Copa America.

It was the 105th time the South American arch-rivals have faced each other in an official match, with Brazil just ahead on 41 wins to 38, with 26 draws.

The two sides last met in June last year in a friendly in Australia, won 1-0 by Argentina but Brazil romped to a 3-0 success in their last competitive fixture, a World Cup qualifier in November 2016.

Tuesday's loss was also the first in four games for Lionel Scaloni, the interim coach who replaced Jorge Sampaoli after the World Cup.

The upbeat Argentinian said: "Doing what we did today, we are going to be able to take on the whole world.

"It is exciting... these guys have made an incredible effort. They played as an equal to a team that has a lot more than us.

"The result was secondary, but it does not mean it does not hurt to lose like that."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2018, with the headline 'I can still deliver for Brazil: Miranda'. Print Edition | Subscribe