Today Argentina got its latest and almost final clue as to who exactly will represent the Albiceleste in Russia this summer.
Argentina national team head coach Jorge Sampaoli announced in a press conference this afternoon the squad for the two spring tune-up friendlies Argentina will play ahead of the tournament’s kickoff in June.
Argentina play Italy at the Etihad Stadium (Manchester City) in Manchester on March 23 and Spain in the Wanda Metropolitano (Atlético Madrid) in Madrid on March 27.
As expected, domestic players are not in the team. Sampaoli has said he would like to play a third friendly primarily for these players, but that has yet to be officially announced.
Defenders: Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City, England), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla, Spain), Federico Fazio (Roma, Italy), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United, England), Nicolás Tagliafico (Ajax, Netherlands), Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton, England).
Midfielders: Lucas Biglia (Milan, Italy), Javier Mascherano (Hebei China Fortune, China), Éver Banega (Sevilla, Spain), Marcos Acuña (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica, Portugal), Leandro Paredes (Zenit St. Petersburg, Russia), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint Germain, France), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham, England) y Ángel Di María (París Saint Germain, France).
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Spain), Sergio Agüero (Manchester City, England), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus, Italy), Diego Perotti (Roma, Italy)
Backup players: Paulo Dybala (Juventus, Italy), Mauro Icardi (Inter, Italy), Alejandro Gómez (Atalanta, Italy), Joaquín Correa (Sevilla, Spain) y Emanuel Mammana (Zenit St. Petersburg, Russia).
Icardi and Dybala are surprise omissions, but the former is currently injured and the latter has just returned from injury. Tagliafico, Rojo, Funes Mori and Caballero were all less than assured inclusions, while Messi Agüero, Mascherano and Di María were the easiest to predict.