Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero get Argentina call-ups

Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza could line up Gonzalo Higuain alongside Aguero as a twin strike force.

By: Reuters | Buenos Aires | Published:September 17, 2016 10:09 am
higuain-aguero759 Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero have been in goalscoring form for Juventus and Manchester City. Reuters

Sergio Aguero, in fine scoring form for Manchester City this season, looks set to lead Argentina’s attack in next month’s World Cup qualifiers after being recalled to their squad on Friday. Coach Edgardo Bauza could line up Gonzalo Higuain alongside Aguero as a twin strike force after also including the Juventus player in a 24-man squad for matches away to Peru on Oct. 6 and at home to Paraguay five days later.

The pair missed last month’s two qualifiers, Higuain having agreed with Bauza not to be included while he settled into his new club in Serie A and Aguero after withdrawing from the squad through injury. Aguero hit three goals in City’s Champions League 4-1 home win over Borussia Moenchengladbach on Wednesday, and has also scored three times in the Premier League.

Captain Lionel Messi, with a hat-trick of his own in Barcelona’s 7-0 rout of Celtic in midweek, will lead the team again after scoring in their 1-0 home win over Uruguay but then missing the 2-2 draw in Venezuela with a groin problem.

“I don’t think our tactics will change much. The idea is to have four players in attack,” Bauza told a news conference. The talk I had with Higuain (on Thursday) was very good. I saw him full of enthusiasm and desire.”

The draw with Venezuela, having fought back from two goals down, left Argentina in third place in the 10-team South American group with 15 points, one point less than leaders Uruguay and below Brazil on goal difference.

The top four go through to the 2018 finals in Russia while the fifth placed team qualifies for an intercontinental playoff for another berth.  Peru and Paraguay are both in the bottom five.

Bauza said he would add some players from the domestic league next week to take his squad to 26 or 27 “in view of the amount of players carrying yellow cards.”

First choice central defensive partnership Nicolas Otamendi and Ramiro Funes Mori are one booking away from a suspension.

The same goes for goalkeeper Sergio Romero, fullbacks Pablo Zabaleta and Marcos Rojo and midfielders Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria.

Higuain’s Juventus team mate Paulo Dybala served a suspension during the Venezuela match after being sent off against Uruguay.

Here is the Argentina squad: 

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Nahuel Guzman (UANL Tigres)

Defenders: Facundo Roncaglia (Celta Vigo), Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal), Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Martin Demichelis (Espanyol), Pablo Zabaleta, Nicolas Otamendi (both Manchester City), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla)

Midfielders: Matias Kranevitter (Sevilla), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Augusto Fernandez, Nicolas Gaitan (both Atletico Madrid), Ever Banega (Inter Milan), Angel Di Maria (Paris St Germain), Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur)

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid), Lucas Pratto (Atletico Mineiro), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain (both Juventus)