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October 22, 2014

National Team

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Banega misses the cut for short list

The faces of the 23 players included in the short list for Argentina’s Wold Cup squad.

Midfielder Sosa and defender Otamendi also fall short of final squad

Nicolás Otamendi, Ever Banega and José Sosa were the three players to miss out as Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella cut his World Cup squad to the final 23 names. Central defender Martin Demichelis is in the team.

Argentina’s national team coach Alejandro Sabella made a stunning announcement yesterday when he sidelined midfielder Ever Banega along with defender Nicolás Otamendi and midfielder José Sosa to name the 23-player final list for the World Cup Brazil 2014.

The list includes the following players — Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Mariano Andújar (Catania), Agustín Orión (Boca Juniors). Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Federico Fernández (Napoli), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan), Martín Demichelis (Manchester City), José Basanta (Monterrey). Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Fernando Gago (Boca Juniors), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Ricardo Álvarez (Inter Milan), Augusto Fernández (Celta Vigo), Ángel Di María (Real Madrid), Maxi Rodríguez (Newell’s Old Boys), Enzo Pérez (Benfica). Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli), Sergio Agüero (Manchester City), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris St Germain).

2008 Olympic Gold medal winner Banega, 25, was unexpectedly sidelined as he had been fielded by Sabella since his first match in charge in September, 2011.

Rosario-born Banega, was the 13th player most fielded in Sabella’s era with 13 matches. He lost his place against players less used by the coach like Augusto Fernández (6 matches), Ricardo Álvarez (6) and Enzo Pérez (1). Banega was sidelined several times in the last matches of the season due to a lung infection but trained jointly with the rest of the squad in Ezeiza from the first session last Monday.

It was not the case for Augusto Fernández, who is in the list de spite being discharged from a knee strain on Thursday.

Benfica winger Pérez, who was already a surprise call-up when he was included in the 30-player list and Álvarez, who took Sosa’s place on the left side, were also the big winners of the final list.

In the defence, everything resulted as expected as 2010 World Cup team member Otamendi was not often chosen for the main team in the training sessions while Martín Demichelis and Hugo Campagnaro were.

Sabella recalled Demichelis to his provisional squad last month after his title-winning season with English Premier League side Manchester City following more than two years out of the Argentina reckoning.

The defender who made way for Demichelis is another veteran of the 2010 finals in South Africa, Otamendi, who was on loan at Brazil’s Atlético Mineiro and had also only recently been recalled by Sabella.

Demichelis played his last match for Argentina in a qualifier against Bolivia in November, 2011 and left the pitch booed by fans.

Argentina’s squad will have three goalkeepers, seven defenders, eight midfielders and five forwards. Ten of them — Romero, Andújar, Demichelis, Di María, Mascherano, “Maxi” Rodríguez, Messi, Agüero, Higuaín and Palacio) have played in earlier World Cups.

Today in the afternoon, the team will have its first training session with the final 23 players to later remain in the facilities ahead of tomorrow’s friendly against Trinidad and Tobago at River Plate stadium.

Three days later, the team will have its farewell in the match against Slovenia at La Plata City stadium.

The team will travel to Brazil on Monday in a Aerolíneas Argentinas flight to Belo Horizonte, where Argentina will have its headquarters.

Argentina, captained by Messi, will be looking to win their third world crown. They face Bosnia (Sunday, June 15 at 7pm), Iran (Saturday 21 at 1pm) and Nigeria (Wednesday 25 at 1pm) in Group F.

Herald with Télam

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