Argentina, Clubs, Gonzalo Higuaín, Javier Pastore, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Story, World Cup Qualifying - CONMEBOL


Currently fifth in CONMEBOL, Craig Burley still sees Argentina making it to Russia 2018, albeit in tense fashion.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has put his faith in youth again as he tries to salvage the nation’s place in next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Sampaoli included Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi in the squad on Friday but again omitted Juventus veteran Gonzalo Higuain. Sampaoli also left Higuain off the team for Argentina’s previous two World Cup qualifiers.

Icardi started both qualifiers last month — draws against Venezuela and Uruguay — in his first appearances for the Albiceleste since 2013.

PSG’s Javier Pastore was left out after reporting back issues, while Sevilla’s Guido Pizarro and Joaquin Correa, West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini (knee), and Atletico’s Augusto Fernandez were also dropped.

The uncapped German Pezzella of Fiorentina was added to the squad alongside Zenit’s Emanuel Mammana, replacing Sevilla defender Nicolas Pareja.

Zenit’s Emiliano Rigoni could also make his international debut, while Atalanta’s Alejandro Gomez is back after earning his first cap in June.

Club America goalkeeper Agustin Machesin replaces Real Sociedad’s Geronimo Rulli.

Argentina are out of the top four automatic qualifying places from South America going into their final two qualifiers. They face Peru in Buenos Aires on Oct. 5 and play Ecuador in Quito in the Andes on Oct. 10.

FIFA on Wednesday approved Boca Juniors’ Bombonera stadium despite requests from Peru to move it over safety concerns.

Argentina, runners-up to Germany in the last World Cup, have scored only 16 goals in as many qualifying matches despite the presence of Lionel Messi.

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Nahuel Guzman (Tigres), Agustin Marchesin (America)

Defenders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Federico Fazio (Roma), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Emanuel Mammana (Zenit), German Pezzella (Fiorentina)

Midfielders: Ever Banega (Sevilla), Lucas Biglia (AC Milan), Leandro Paredes (Zenit), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Emiliano Rigoni (Zenit), Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta)

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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