Jorge Sampaoli, coach of the Argentine national football team, announced today the 23-player roster that will be participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup taking place in Russia next month. You can see the list on the tweet below.
¡#Rusia2018 está en marcha! Estos son los 23 elegidos por Jorge Sampaoli para representar a la Selección Argentina en la próxima Copa del Mundo ?? #VamosArgentina #SomosArgentina pic.twitter.com/Nd930JwQXt
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) May 21, 2018
This means that the following twelve players who were part of the preliminary list did not make the cut: Nahuel Guzmán; Germán Pezzela; Ramiro Funes Mori; Ricardo Centurión; Guido Pizarro; Enzo Pérez; Pablo Pérez; Leandro paredes; Rodrigo Battaglia; Diego Perotti; Lautaro Martínez and Mauro Icardi.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the inclusion of Cristian Ansaldi, a defender who has not played much for the national team. When asked about his decision, Sampaoli said he made the team because he “can play both as a right and left back.” According to the sports media, Ansaldi was not on the coach’s original plans, but the injury of Gabriel Mercado – the projected starting right back – which jeopardizes his fitness to play, determined his inclusion.
Ansaldi allegedly took the spot from Guido Pizarro, who plays as a midfielder for Sevilla. Others who were thought to have high chances of going but will end up watching it on TV are the two Racing Club players who made it to the preliminary list: Lautaro Martínez and Ricardo Centurión. Franco Armani clenched a spot despite never having played in the national team. His great performances as a keeper for River Plate got him to replace Nahuel Guzmán, who is very well liked by the historic players.
“We didn’t have Armani, but we know about his current level. We trust a lot in Sergio Romero. We also believe Caballero is a keeper we can trust in,” said Sampaoli in a press conference held for the occasion.
“What we are seeking in this period is betting on the culture of well-played football. We will have to be well prepared because my idea is to have a team that plays and seizes the characteristics of the players that were called,” Sampaoli added.
Argentina is part of Group D of the World Cup, along with Iceland, Croatia, and Nigeria. It will debut on Saturday, June 16, at 10 AM against Iceland – which will play its first World Cup – in Moscow’s Otkrytie Arena.