Jorge Sampaoli has announced his 23-man squad to represent Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a few shockers that have left everyone high and dry. How often do you see a league’s top scorer failing to make it to his national side despite all his great showing? Mauro Icardi’s 29 goals this season for Inter Milan in the Italian Seria A has failed to find him a place in Jorge Sampaoli’s World Cup Squad. There was some respite for the Argentine fans though as Paulo Dybala was named in the squad despite speculations of a rift between him and the manager.
The other notable names to miss out from the team were Diego Perotti, Endo Perez, Ramiro Funes Mori, and Rodrigo Battaglia. As if the axing of Mauro Icardi wasn’t enough, their first choice goalkeeper, Sergio Romero too, has been ruled out due to an injury. He picked up a knee injury just a day after getting named in the 23-man squad. Chelsea’s Willy Caballero is the most likely replacement for Romero in the Playing XI while Tigres’ Nahuel Guzman was replacing him in the 23-man roster. Lionel Messi will continue to lead the side but will likely have a difficult time ahead in the World Cup.
It is not just the roster that has gone wrong for Argentina; their schedule too is witnessing some surprises. Their friendly against Nicaragua stands cancelled that leaves them with only one warm-up game against Israel to look up to. Another friendly against Haiti has been scheduled as a replacement for their cancelled fixture, but the timings are yet to be decided. The two matches leave Jorge Sampaoli with a cause of concern as both their opponents are not strong enough for him to test his side’s potent strength.
They have been clubbed alongside Croatia, Iceland, and Nigeria, all of whom pose a much stronger challenge to Argentina. While Iceland has been sensational in the qualifying campaign, Croatia have got some big names to get the better of Argentina. Nigeria, their lowest ranked opponents, too defeated them 4-2 in their previous meeting just a year ago. Things don’t like bright by any means for Jorge Sampaoli and his men, and they’ll have to play some exceptional football if they are to see Lionel Messi have some glory with the national side finally.
Check out Brazil confirmed team for World Cup here.
Argentina FIFA World Cup Squad 2018
Lionel Messi will be at the centre of it all for Argentina with Paulo Dybala and Sergio Aguero playing second fiddle to him. Their forward lineup looks pretty strong with Paulo Dybala and Sergio Aguero in some smoking hot form this season for Juventus and Manchester City respectively. Midfield will rely heavily on Angel Di Maria, who has bailed out Argentina on many occasions. He will have support most likely coming in from either of Giovani Lo Celso, Ever Banega, Lucas Biglia, and Manuel Lanzini. The defence will have Nicolas Otamendi, Javier Mascherano at the centre, Mercado at the right-back, and Rojo at the left-back position. Cristian Ansaldi was a surprise pick in the squad, but he gives Sampaoli an option that he can use on either side of his defence lineup. Here is how the full list looks like for Argentina.
Argentina official lineups
Let’s get into the player’s list of Argentina team for World Cup 2018 below.
Sergio Romero (Manchester United)
Willy Caballero (Chelsea)
Franco Armani (River Plate).
Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla)
Federico Fazio (Roma)
Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City)
Marcos Rojo (Manchester United)
Nicolas Taglafico (Ajax)
Javier Mascherano (Hebei Fortune)
Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon)
Cristian Ansaldi (Torino).
Ever Banega (Sevilla)
Lucas Biglia (AC Milan)
Angel Di Maria (PSG)
Giovani Lo Celso (PSG)
Manuel Lanzini (West Ham)
Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors)
Maximiliano Meza (Independiente)
Eduardo Salvio (Benfica).
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus)
Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City).
Get the full squad of France for FIFA World Cup 2018 here.