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Sampaoli snubs star attacker for Uruguay clash

Sampaoli names Argentina squad for Uruguay clash, drops star striker

August 29, 2017 By Ali M.
La Albiceleste travel to Uruguay knowing they need a win to remain in the race for an automatic qualification.

With the international break under way, Jorge Sampaoli is training his men for a crucial World Cup qualifier. Argentina travel to Uruguay on August 31 in a clash that could make or break La Albiceleste’s 2018 World Cup dream.

The two-time World Cup winners currently sit in fifth place, which will earn them a spot in the play-offs. A win could see Messi and Co. jump to third; a defeat could see them be leapfrogged by sixth-placed Ecuador.

As a result, Sampaoli’s squad for the international break could raise a few eyebrows. In attack, the likely suspects were there – Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero, and Lionel Messi – but one star name was snubbed.

Juventus hitman Gonzalo Higuain did not even earn a call-up for Sampaoli first competitive game since taking over Argentina. Instead, Jorge handed a rare call-up to Mauro Icardi, whilst also giving the nod to Joaquin Correa; Benedetto; and Lautaro Acosta.

This could be a welcomed move, however. Higuain's wastefulness in the big games is blamed for Argentina’s three consecutive major final defeats. Sampaoli knows victory is a must if the South American powerhouse wish to grab one of the four automatic qualifications.

Elsewhere, Di Maria and Pastore were called up to help Argentina’s midfield. With Sampaoli likely to play a 3-4-3 formation, Mascherano finds himself with defensive duties in the national side.

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