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Argentina News: Zanetti criticises Icardi omission

1 year ago

In the latest Argentina news, former defender Javier Zanetti believes his country has made a mistake by not taking Mauro Icardi to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Icardi has been in scintillating form for Inter Milan over the past four seasons, scoring 91 Serie A goals, taking his overall tally in the league for the Italian club to 100 since his arrival in 2013 from Sampdoria.

However, despite his impressive performances domestically, the 25-year-old has only played four times for Argentina and he was left out of Jorge Sampaoli’s 23-man squad for the tournament in Russia.

Many have questioned the decision to leave the forward out and Zanetti, who was capped 143 times for La Albiceleste, agrees it was a big selection mistake.

“Mauro Icardi deserved an opportunity for what he did and what he has been doing. I would have liked him to be with us in Russia,” he told reporters. “He is very young and has a lot of future ahead of him. He will have the opportunity to be part of the Argentine National Team.”

Icardi’s absence was made even more evident on Saturday as Argentina, who are 12.00 with Winner Sports to win the tournament, could only manage a 1-1 draw against Iceland in their Group D World Cup opener.

Captain Lionel Messi missed a penalty in that clash and the Barcelona talisman, who is 21.00 to finish as the tournament’s top goalscorer, will be hoping to make amends for that spurned opportunity against Croatia on Thursday.

Sampaoli’s men are 2.05 favourites with Winner Sports to pick up a win against Croatia, a draw is priced at 3.35 while their opponents, who beat Nigeria 2-0 last time out, are the 4.00 outsiders.

The Argentina head coach could decide to make some changes to his starting XI for the contest, with the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala both pressing for starts.