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Marcos Mata (Argentina)

BUENOS AIRES (Olympics) - Marcos Mata has beaten out Paolo Quinteros for the 12th and final spot in Argentina's Olympic squad.

Quinteros, a reserve shooting guard in the 2008 Olympic squad, played a vital role for the team in their bronze-medal win over Lithuania in Beijing.

But the 33-year-old lost out to 2.01m forward Mata, who turns 26 on 1 August.

Mata played on Argentina's 2010 FIBA World Championship squad but unlike Quinteros was left out of last year's side that won gold at the FIBA Americas Championship.

Mata did himself a lot of good with a strong performance at the South American Championship last month when he averaged 9.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists and helped fire Argentina to the title.

The 1.79 point guard Facundo Campazzo of Mar del Plata has beaten out Nicolás Laprovittola for a spot in the Argentina backcourt.

"The first decision had to do with regards to the guards," Argentina coach Julio Lamas said.

"Campazzo and Laprovittola are two players of a similar level and potential.

"The truth is that I thought I would find out who was better but I couldn't.

"The decision that Campazzo is in the team has to do with the defensive input he offers, which gives the team something extra.

"In the case of Mata and Quinteros, it's a similar situation, for what Marcos gives on defense and rebounds.

"I think the team needs to reinforce the defensive work and that made me go for Marcos."

Argentina are to face Spain a warm-up game this weekend.

The team isn't running on all cylinders, yet, and one reason has been the absence of Carlos Delfino, who has been recovering from an operation to remove a sports hernia.

Delfino has also been in Italy with his wife, who is expecting twins.

"Right now, the most important thing is that Carlos joins the team," Argentina's veteran point guard Pablo Prigioni said.

"He has way too much quality for us to be without him.

"I would make that a priority."

Delfino expected to join the team in Madrid on Wednesday.

Manu Ginobili, the MVP of Argentina's gold-medal triumph at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, said: "There are 13 days left for our debut against Lithuania.

"There is still time to get things right. I'm optimistic."

Argentina forward Andres Nocioni, meanwhile, has been looking forward to the Olympics all year.

"Those that have won something like us want to continue to win," he said.

"That is why we are going for another medal. We will fight to achieve it."

Argentina will play in Group A with Tunisia, Team USA, France, Lithuania and Nigeria.

"We aspire to achieve a medal but we know it's not going to be easy because there are different teams that have a similar level," Lamas said.

"It's our feeling and hope to be on the podium again."

Argentina squad for 2012 London Olympics: Pablo Prigioni, Facundo Campazzo, Emanuel Ginóbili, Carlos Delfino, Andrés Nocioni, Federico Kammerichs, Hernán Jasen, Marcos Mata, Luis Scola, Leonardo Gutiérrez, Martín Leiva and Juan Gutiérrez.


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