Mauro Icardi, Lautaro Martinez out, Lionel Messi in Argentina's World Cup squad
World Cup 2018 news

Mauro Icardi, Lautaro Martinez out, Lionel Messi in Argentina's World Cup squad

22/05/2018

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has included Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala to feature in attack alongside Lionel Messi in his 23-man World Cup squad, but has left Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi and Racing Club starlet Lautaro Martinez out.

City's top scorer this season with 30 goals in all competitions, Aguero missed Argentina's international friendlies against Italy and Spain in March and underwent left knee surgery last month but Sampaoli is convinced he can help the South Americans in next month's tournament in Russia.

"Aguero has been working as normal since last week," Sampaoli said in Monday's news conference. "He has worked intensely with us and without any type of issues, which is the most important thing."

Juventus forward Dybala scored 22 goals and set up five more to help Juventus win the Serie A title this season but it was compatriot Icardi, who finished as joint-top scorer with 29 goals, who has been dropped.

"Unfortunately we could only choose four in attack and many important players like [Diego] Perotti, Icardi, Lautaro Martinez were left out," Sampaoli said. "I'm grateful to all the players that have contributed to Argentina being at the World Cup. I always had clear that these players are on the list that are closest to the idea that we want."

Torino defender Cristian Ansaldi is a surprise inclusion, as is Independiente midfielder Maximiliano Meza, who earned his first cap in the 6-1 defeat to Spain in March.

"The only player that has arrived injured is Gabriel Mercado, and Ansaldi can play on both flanks," Sampaoli said. "Meza is polyfunctional and gives us alternatives."

Messi, who won the 2017-18 European Golden Shoe after scoring 34 goals for Barcelona in their La Liga-winning campaign, leads the squad.

The Argentina captain's hat trick at Ecuador in the Albiceleste's 3-1 win in their final World Cup qualifier earned his country a spot in this summer's World Cup. He sat out of the team's last two friendlies with a muscular problem.

"We weren't able to have Messi for some friendly games but Messi will arrive very well for the World Cup," Sampaoli said. "I've spoken to Messi. I've seen him very enthusiastic about what is next. Physically he is going through a good spell."

Sampaoli has dropped Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori but fellow Premier League player Manuel Lanzini has made the cut.

He is one of six UK-based players included in the squad.

Sampaoli praised veteran midfielder Javier Mascherano, who will retire from international duty after the World Cup

"Since he arrived here, he has trained like a youngster," he said. "He is an emblem of this squad."

Argentina, who have not won the World Cup since 1986, will face Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria in Group D.

They have lost three straight major finals -- two Copa Americas and the 2014 World Cup -- and are desperate to succeed in Russia.

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Wilfredo Caballero (Chelsea), Franco Armani (River Plate)

Defenders: Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Cristian Ansaldi (Torino), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Federico Fazio (Roma), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP).

Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Hebei China Fortune), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Lucas Biglia (Milan), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Germain), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain), Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors),

Forwards: Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus).

Related news

Controversy and class help France beat Croatia in remarkable World Cup final

Controversy and class help France beat Croatia in remarkable World Cup final

France won their second World Cup on Sunday with a 4-2 win over Croatia, with Didier Deschamps becoming the third person to win the trophy as a player and a manager.

Belgium claim third place in World Cup with victory over England

Belgium claim third place in World Cup with victory over England

Thomas Meunier scored in the opening minutes and Eden Hazard added a goal late as Belgium defeated England 2-0 in the World Cup's third-place game in St. Petersburg.

Croatia beat England in extra time to reach World Cup final after Mandzukic goal

Croatia beat England in extra time to reach World Cup final after Mandzukic goal

Croatia will take on France in the World Cup final -- their first ever appearance in one -- after beating England 2-1 in extra time in Moscow thanks to a Mario Mandzukic goal.

France reach World Cup final as Samuel Umtiti goal beats Belgium

France reach World Cup final as Samuel Umtiti goal beats Belgium

France will play in the World Cup final for the first time since 2006 after beating Belgium 1-0 thanks to a goal from Samuel Umtiti in St Petersburg on Tuesday evening.

Croatia oust Russia in another shootout to reach World Cup semifinals

Croatia oust Russia in another shootout to reach World Cup semifinals

Croatia won a second consecutive penalty shootout 4-3 to advance to the World Cup semifinals, ending the tournament for hosts Russia, who had equalised late in extra time.

England reach World Cup semifinal thanks to Harry Maguire and Dele Alli

England reach World Cup semifinal thanks to Harry Maguire and Dele Alli

England have reached their first World Cup semifinal since 1990 after goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli secured a 2-0 victory over Sweden in Samara.

De Bruyne fires Belgium past Brazil and into semi-finals

De Bruyne fires Belgium past Brazil and into semi-finals

Belgium blew away Brazil to claim a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup, with an own goal from Fernandinho and a strike from Kevin De Bruyne giving them a 2-1 win.

France beat Uruguay to reach World Cup semis as Varane, Griezmann strike

France beat Uruguay to reach World Cup semis as Varane, Griezmann strike

France reached the World Cup semifinals after a relatively straightforward win over Uruguay courtesy of goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.

England eliminate Colombia on penalties, reach first quarterfinal since 2006

England eliminate Colombia on penalties, reach first quarterfinal since 2006

England advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Colombia on a dramatic evening in Moscow on Tuesday.

RELATED NEWS

Controversy and class help France beat Croatia in remarkable World Cup final
France 4 - 2 Croatia

Controversy and class help France beat Croatia in remarkable World Cup final

France won their second World Cup on Sunday with a 4-2 win over Croatia, with Didier Deschamps becoming the third person to win the trophy as a player and a manager.

Belgium claim third place in World Cup with victory over England
Belgium 2 - 0 England

Belgium claim third place in World Cup with victory over England

Thomas Meunier scored in the opening minutes and Eden Hazard added a goal late as Belgium defeated England 2-0 in the World Cup's third-place game in St. Petersburg.

Croatia beat England in extra time to reach World Cup final after Mandzukic goal
Croatia 2 - 1 (AET) England

Croatia beat England in extra time to reach World Cup final after Mandzukic goal

Croatia will take on France in the World Cup final -- their first ever appearance in one -- after beating England 2-1 in extra time in Moscow thanks to a Mario Mandzukic goal.

France reach World Cup final as Samuel Umtiti goal beats Belgium
France 1 - 0 Belgium

France reach World Cup final as Samuel Umtiti goal beats Belgium

France will play in the World Cup final for the first time since 2006 after beating Belgium 1-0 thanks to a goal from Samuel Umtiti in St Petersburg on Tuesday evening.

Croatia oust Russia in another shootout to reach World Cup semifinals
Russia 2 - 2 (3-4 a.p.) Croatia

Croatia oust Russia in another shootout to reach World Cup semifinals

Croatia won a second consecutive penalty shootout 4-3 to advance to the World Cup semifinals, ending the tournament for hosts Russia, who had equalised late in extra time.

England reach World Cup semifinal thanks to Harry Maguire and Dele Alli
Sweeden 0 - 2 England

England reach World Cup semifinal thanks to Harry Maguire and Dele Alli

England have reached their first World Cup semifinal since 1990 after goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli secured a 2-0 victory over Sweden in Samara.

De Bruyne fires Belgium past Brazil and into semi-finals
Brazil 1 - 2 Belgium

De Bruyne fires Belgium past Brazil and into semi-finals

Belgium blew away Brazil to claim a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup, with an own goal from Fernandinho and a strike from Kevin De Bruyne giving them a 2-1 win.

France beat Uruguay to reach World Cup semis as Varane, Griezmann strike
Uruguay 0 - 2 France

France beat Uruguay to reach World Cup semis as Varane, Griezmann strike

France reached the World Cup semifinals after a relatively straightforward win over Uruguay courtesy of goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.

England eliminate Colombia on penalties, reach first quarterfinal since 2006
Colombia 1 - 1 (3-4 a.p.) England

England eliminate Colombia on penalties, reach first quarterfinal since 2006

England advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Colombia on a dramatic evening in Moscow on Tuesday.