Icardi earns Ar­gentina re­call, Aguero misses out

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

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