Icardi earns Argentina recall, Aguero misses out
BUENOS AIRES: Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi and West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini stood out in an Argentina squad named on Friday for friendlies against Brazil and Singapore on tour next month.
Inter captain Icardi has been banging on the Argentina door since earning a first cap as a substitute in a World Cup qualifier against Uruguay in 2013, while the uncapped Lanzini has had a fine season in the Premier League.
Both have caught the eye of Jorge Sampaoli, the Sevilla coach set to take the vacant Argentina job after the Spanish Liga season ends this weekend and likely to dramatically change the team’s tactics.
With Champions League finalists Juventus’s attacking duo of Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala also included, Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is a notable absentee.
The Argentine FA posted the squad on their official website (www.afa.com.ar) without mentioning Sampaoli, who was confirmed last month by their president Claudio Tapia as their chosen candidate after they sacked Edgardo Bauza.
The team captained by Lionel Messi will play arch-rivals Brazil in Melbourne on June 9 and visit Singapore four days later.
Argentina, who have struggled in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and are fifth in the South American group, have four matches left to make sure they reach the Russia finals.
The top four qualify automatically while the fifth-place side go into a playoff over two legs against a team from the Oceania confederation.
Brazil lead the group with 33 points, Colombia are second on 24, Uruguay and Chile have 23 each and Argentina 22.
Uruguay are Argentina’s next opponents in Montevideo on Aug 31. Then they face both Venezuela and Peru at home before finishing with a visit to Ecuador.
SQUAD — Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Nahuel Guzman (UANL Tigres), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad); Defenders: Nicolas Otamendi (Man City), Emanuel Mammana (Lyon), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla);
Midfielders: Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Guido Rodriguez (Tijuana), Leandro Paredes (Roma), Ever Banega (Inter Milan), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham), Angel Di Maria (PSG); Forwards: Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain (both Juventus), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta), Joaquin Correa (Sevilla). Reuters