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, while Lionel Messi was not included as expected.
Messi was left out after requesting an unspecified time out from international duty following Argentina’s disappointing World Cup campaign, after which coach Jorge Sampaoli left his post.
Martinez, who joined Inter Milan from Racing 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.
There is also a return for Mauro Icardi, the Inter striker who like Martinez was surprisingly left out of Argentina’s World Cup squad, but there is no place for Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero or Angel Di Maria in the first squad picked by interim coach Lionel Scaloni.
Only nine of the 23 players who went to the Russia World Cup are included for the games against Guatemala in Los Angeles on Sept. 7 and Colombia in New Jersey four days later.
Franco Martinez, the Sevilla midfielder who played two friendlies for Italy in 2015, is among the new names in the 29-man squad, as is Gremio centre-half Walter Kannemann.
Scaloni also gave call-ups to uncapped Stuttgart midfielder Santiago Ascacibar and Real Sociedad goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
Goalkeepers: Franco Armani (River), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad), Sergio Romero (Manchester United).
Defenders: Fabricio Bustos (Independiente), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal), Alan Franco (Independiente), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Walter Kannemann (Gremio), Leonel Di Plácido (Lanus), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon).
Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (Zenit), Santiago Ascacibar (Stuttgart), Rodrigo Battaglia (Sporting Lisbon), Gonzalo Martinez (River), Giovani Lo Celso (PSG), Franco Cervi (Benfica), Maxi Meza (Independiente), Matias Vargas (Velez), Franco Vazquez (Sevilla), Exequiel Palacios (River).
Forwards: Angel Correa (Athletico Madrid), Lautaro Martinez (Internazionale), Mauro Icardi (Internazionale), Giovanni Simeone (Fiorentina), Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Paulo Dybala (Juventus).