Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli is adamant Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi still have a chance of playing at this year’s World Cup despite being left out of the most recent squad.
With less than three months to go until the World Cup, Sampaoli caused something of a stir by ignoring both Icardi and Dybala for friendlies with Italy and Spain.
Argentina beat Italy 2-0 on Friday thanks to late goals from Ever Banega and Manuel Lanzini, but for much of the match they looked devoid of craft in the final third as Lionel Messi sat out due to a muscular problem.
Sampaoli’s omission of Icardi and Dybala was unsurprisingly the focus of much of the build-up, particularly when he called up Angel Correa instead of them in order to cover for the injured Sergio Aguero.
His comments pre-match suggested neither had much hope of playing in Russia, as Sampaoli criticised their adaptation to his system, but he seems to have backtracked after the win over Italy.
Speaking to Rai Sports, Sampaoli said: “Icardi and Dybala are both important players and everything is undecided for the World Cup squad going to Russia.
“I also want to add that they have always been called up before these friendlies.”
Despite not being risked against Italy, Messi looks certain to return to action in Madrid when Argentina face Spain on Tuesday.
Sampaoli added: “Messi suffered an adductor problem in the final training session so we gave him a precaution. He’ll probably be ready to play against Spain.”
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