Diego Maradona and his Argentina team went to mass on Thursday, praying for help in Saturday’s critical World Cup qualifier against No. 1-ranked Brazil.

The religious service was held on the training ground where Argentina is preparing for the game in Rosario, about 300 kilometres northwest of Buenos Aires.

The mass was organised by Nelida Pariani, the wife of Julio Grondona, who was the president of the Argentine Football Association. The AFA said Pariani gave Maradona a rosary, but did not offer more details. Reporters were not allowed to attend the mass.

Argentina is struggling to qualify for next year’s World Cup in South Africa and needs a victory. A loss would make it very difficult for the two-time champions to qualify for the 32-team tournament. Argentina last missed the World Cup in 1970.

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