Javier Saviola - International Career

International Career

Saviola starred in the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup, held in Argentina. He was top scorer and was voted player of the tournament, as the national team won the competition; with 11 goals in seven games, he became the record goal-scorer in World Youth Cups history. His vintage performance earned himself many offers from European clubs but, surprisingly, he lost his place in the Argentina national football team squad for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in favour of veteran Claudio Caniggia.

Two years later, Saviola played in the 2004 Olympic Games and won the gold medal. Under coach Marcelo Bielsa, he was given few playing opportunities for the senior team but, after Bielsa's resignation in 2004, new coach José Pekerman, who also coached the player at youth level, turned the tide in the player's favour.

Saviola was called up to represent Argentina at the 2006 World Cup. Luciano Figueroa and winger Luciano Galletti were also in contention for a place on the roster, but Saviola's excellent form for Sevilla secured his place in the squad. He made his presence felt at the tournament, as he scored a goal against Côte d'Ivoire in Argentina's opening game, and made two assists in the 6–0 victory against Serbia and Montenegro.

Saviola retired from international football on 5 December 2009, although not yet 28. He stated that he felt his career as an Argentina player had come to an end, and that he wanted to concentrate on club football.

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