Interim Coach Scaloni Hits Argentina With Big Changes

Interim Coach Scaloni Hits Argentina With Big Changes
Interim Coach Scaloni Hits Argentina With Big Changes

Argentina national football team interim coach Lionel Scaloni has hit the team with drastic changes ahead of the friendlies against South American countries with new members in the roster.

According to Reuters, Italian-based strikers Lautaro Martinez and Giovanni Simeone are among the 20 new faces in Argentina’s squad for upcoming friendlies against Guatemala and Colombia, the Argentine Football Association said on Friday.

Martinez, who joined Inter Milan earlier this summer, and Simeone, the Spain-born striker who plays for Fiorentina, are included up front alongside Paolo Dybala, Angel Correa and Cristian Pavon.

Mauro Icardi, the Inter striker who was surprisingly left out of Argentina’s World Cup squad, also returns, but there is no place for Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero or Angel Di Maria.

Lionel Messi was left out after requesting an unspecified time out from international duty.

Only nine of the 23 players who went to the Russia World Cup are included for the games against Guatemala in Los Angeles on September 7 and Colombia in New Jersey four days later.

Franco Martinez, the Sevilla midfielder, is among the new names in the 29-man squad, as is Gremio center-half Walter Kannemann.

Interim coach Lionel Scaloni also gave call-ups to uncapped Stuttgart midfielder Santiago Ascacibar and Real Sociedad goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli.

Argentina disappointed in Russia, drawing with Iceland, losing to Croatia and then qualifying for the knock-out stages with a win over Nigeria. However, it was dispatched by eventual winner France 4-3 in the last 16 and coach Jorge Sampaoli left soon after.

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