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Argentina Ignore Higuain Again For Nigeria, Russia Friendlies; Messi, Aguero, Dybala Invited

Argentina Ignore Higuain Again For Nigeria, Russia Friendlies; Messi, Aguero, Dybala Invited

Juventus star Gonzalo Higuain has been left out of Argentina’s squad yet again by Jorge Sampaoli, but Roma winger Diego Perotti has been recalled from the international wilderness.

Argentina face friendly matches against Russia and Nigeria this month as they begin preparations for next year’s World Cup, which they only progressed to thanks to a Lionel Messi inspired victory over Ecuador in their final qualifier.


Higuain has been left out again despite strong form at club level, scoring four goals in his last three matches for Juventus.

Regular stars Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala are all included in a strong squad for the friendlies in Russia.

Zenith Ziva

The 29-year-old played 45 minutes in Sampaoli’s first match in charge against Brazil in September, but he has not been named in a squad since.

Perotti has fought his way back into contention, though, with the Roma forward receiving his first call up since June 2011.

He made his international debut under Diego Maradona in November 2009 after breaking through as a talented youngster at Sevilla, but injuries and inconsistency wreaked havoc on him in the three years that followed his last inclusion.

Boca Juniors winger Cristian Pavon has been selected for the first time, with the 21-year-old enjoying a fine start to the Argentinian Primera Division season.

Squad in full:

Squad in full: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Nahuel Guzman (Tigres), Agustin Marchesin (Club America); Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Federico Fazio (Roma), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Emiliano Insua (Stuttgart); Ever Banega (Sevilla), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Matias Kranevitter, Leandro Paredes, Emiliano Rigoni (all Zenit St Petersburg), Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta), Perotti (Roma); Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Mauro Icardi (Inter), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Dario Benedetto, Cristian Pavon (both Boca Juniors).

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  • I think the Argentina senior team is very sentimental. Why are they benching all their superstars, we Nigerian should also note that Argentina want to hide their playing tactics for the next year Russia World Cup. Be wise Nigerian.

  • Let’s be wise and not be disillusioned because cagey Argentina is hiding all her stars. Hit them hard and win, their so-called superstars playing or not. Soccer being a team spot, no particular player is indispensable. Even a draw would somehow contribute to elevate our sinking FIFA ranking. Yes, we should be the number one team in Africa, but we’ve got to show the data to claim it.

  • Kingmaker 4 years ago

    I am forced to make a few comments here after looking up the names of Argentine players for the game with Nigeria.
    A majority of Nigerian fans are without doubt very scared seeing those massive names on paper. Football is not played on paper.
    We are constantly reminded of the mighty Argentine team with its ‘enfant terrible’, called Lionel Messi, Five (5) times World Footballer of the year.
    Take another look at the team and you will start laughing with me. I have good news for Nigerian fans!
    This MIGHTY Argentine squad you see today struggled to qualify from South Africa; this terrible and intimidating Argentine squad has an average age of 28 years 8 months from a list of 26 players lined up against Nigeria.
    This fearful- looking squad would field 11 first teamers with an average age of 30 years 2 months.
    This Dreaded Argentine team is old, overworked, and way passed its prime and glory days.
    This Argentine team climaxed at Brazil 2014 where it was runners up to Champions Germany. This is 2017 and the team is in great decline and ready to be buried by any hungry young team. Super Eagles can do that job very well.
    I have good news for Nigeria.
    The current Super Eagles squad has an average age of 24 years and 3 months from its pool of 24 players for Algeria and Argentina this November. The average age of the first team (probable) for Argentina is about 24 years 7 months. Super Eagles is young, energetic, motivated, and soaring.
    The factors that win a match are simple and if followed through will always produce results at 90% success rate.
    I am not a coach but coaches cannot dispute the fact that football is a physical game requiring high energy, endurance level, skill and tactics to produce quality results.
    Four factors are to be considered if Gernot Rohr hopes to outwit the old lions of Argentina.
    Consider this:
    Field a team to maintain high energy Level all 90 minutes while maintaining a balance between experience and youth.. 2, Maintain a squad that can understand and translate tactics of the Coach into actions. 3, Use a strategy to exploit the weakness of Agentina back-four with an average age of 29 years 3 months..( Javier Mascharaeno is 33). Argentine midfield average is 27.7years (and attack is 26.1 years) 4, The Argentina team is proud and high-handed because of its past achievements in global football, this is a weakness. Use the young fast Nigerian wingers to run-rings around their established star defenders to provoke them to attack while you counter them. 5, Do not change goal keeper at second half, not against Argentina; the fear of Messi, to a young – inexperienced keeper, can ruin the party.
    What wins matches is not big – name, but good preparation, young, intelligent and balanced team, high energy level and Coach’s tactics.
    Nigeria should use this test to crawl its way back into global reckoning and respect leading to more preparations for the World Cup fiesta.
    One final word, in making its choice for sparing teams in preparation for Russia 2018, NFF must avoid certain toxic teams who would try to dampen the morals of the Super Eagles team even after losing their matches. A good example is England. The English media is at war with Eagles and Nigeria over ‘player poaching’. Should Nigeria play England, a win, loss or draw for Super Eagles would be made to look like a woeful outing. Our players will be re-evaluated to kill their morals. So England is toxic. South -Africa is toxic, as well as the USA failed teams.
    While I wish Nigerians well, I appeal to fans to relax; Argentina is for the plucking if, only if Coach Gernot Rohr gets his tactics right.. I am certain he will, he is top tactician.
    A draw is the worse we can get out of this encounter, because I foresee a close tactical match-up but Eagles etching its name in gold after 90 minutes.
    Yes we should..