Monday 21 May 2018, 16:07

Sampaoli names 23-man provisional squad

  • Brazil 2014 runners-up announce provisional squad for Russia

  • Sergio Aguero included despite recent knee problems

  • Final 23-man squad lists will be published by FIFA on 4 June

Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli announced his provisional list of 23 players for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ on Monday.

The squad is headlined by Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, while Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is also included despite recent injury problems.

The surprise inclusion is 31-year-old fullback Cristian Ansaldi, who has not played for the national team since the end of 2014.

"We need to face the World Cup without fear," Sampaoli said.

"In this list there are players with a lot of skill. The ones that understand our game better will be closer to being starters."

The 2014 runners-up will open their Russia 2018 campaign against debutants Iceland on 16 June, before further Group D matches against Croatia and Nigeria.

Argentina squad Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United/England), Wilfredo Caballero (Chelsea/England), Franco Armani (River Plate).

Defenders: Cristian Ansaldi (Torino/Italy), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla/Spain), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City/England), Federico Fazio (Roma/Italy), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United/England), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon/Portugal), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax/Netherlands).

Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Hebei China Fortune/China PR), Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain/France), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Germain/France), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham/England), Ever Banega (Sevilla/Spain), Lucas Biglia (AC Milan/Italy), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica/Portugal).

Forwards: Paulo Dybala (Juventus/Italy), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus/Italy), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Spain), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City/England).

All squads are provisional until the final list of 23 players is announced by FIFA, following their submission by participating teams, on 4 June.