Argentina’s head football coach Edgardo Bauza today revealed the 26-man roster that will feature in the team’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers, against Chile on March 23rd and Bolivia on March 28th.
The list sees the return of Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo and Ezequiel Lavezzi, who now plies his trade in the Chinese Super League with Hebei Fortune. Two players from the Argentine Primera División also made the grade, with Racing’s Marcos Acuña and Estudiantes de La Plata’s Mariano Andújar, both featuring for the second time running.
There were some notable omissions, however, with controversial Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi missing out, along with Martín Demichelis, Nicolás Gaitán and Javier Pastore.
The former had been expecting a call-up, considering his impressive form this season and after Bauza attended Inter’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus (whose starting XI include selección dead-certs Gonzalo Higuain and Pablo Dybala) earlier this month. Icardi failed to cover himself in glory, however, kicking the ball at the referee on full-time, for which he subsequently received a two-game ban.
This came after Bauza had stated that “Icardi is the third-choice centre forward for the national side”, presumably behind Higuaín and Sergio Agüero, who were both included.
But, there was no room for the Rosario-born striker this time out, who has often faced criticism for his antics on the field, as well as off – something it is thought Bauza has taken a dim view of.
Argentina can be confident in managing without him, though, with Leo Messi and Angél Di María also confirmed. They face Chile at River Plate’s El Monumental later this month, before heading to La Paz to take on Bolivia five days later.
See the full list of players here.
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) March 3, 2017