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Argentina, Brazil to play World Cup build-up match in Melbourne

Fierce rivals Brazil and Argentina are set to clash at Melbourne Cricket Ground in June, five months before the World Cup, Australian officials said on Wednesday. 

Lionel Messi and Neymar are expected to face off on June 11, local tourism minister Martin Pakula said. 

When the two teams played in the Australian city five years ago, about 95,000 packed into the MCG to see Argentina triumph 1-0.

“We’ve been told this is an important preparation match for them in the lead-up to the World Cup and we would expect both teams to send very strong squads,” Pakula told radio station 3AW.

“Following the success of the Brazil vs Argentina match in 2017, we always planned to bring the ‘Superclasico’ back to Melbourne,” promoter Anthony Bloch of Pitch International said.

Pakula said that “a match of this calibre will put millions of eyes on Melbourne and attract thousands of visitors to Victoria”.

The news comes soon after the announcement that Premier League Manchester United and Crystal Palace will play a friendly in Melbourne in July.

The 2022 World Cup will begin on November 21 in Qatar.

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