Sampaoli has got Argentina's World Cup front line all wrong: No Icardi, half-fit Aguero and off-colour Higuain

The Inter star has been consigned to the reserves while the Albiceleste's hopes rest on two players who arrive in Russia with doubts above their heads
 

Shorn of quality in defence and in the middle of the park, Argentina's hopes of repeating or bettering their run to the 2014 World Cup final hang largely on the team's ability to put the ball in the back of the net. But after the squad for the Russia finals was announced, the omission of goal-getters like Inter star Mauro Icardi leave serious doubts over the Albiceleste's firepower.

Just two out and out strikers feature in the list announced by Jorge Sampaoli on Monday. Sergio Aguero starts in pole position to lead the Argentina attack, a logical move after yet another brilliant season for the all-conquering Manchester City.

His deputy will be Gonzalo Higuain, uneven in form for Juventus over the course of the year and fiercely questioned for his recent Albiceleste performances. Alongside that pair, Lionel Messi and a relieved Paulo Dybala add creative thrust, while Boca starlet Cristian Pavon and Independiente winger Maxi Meza, one of the few players to come out of that 6-1 defeat to Spain with any credit, offer pace and trickery out wide to compensate their inexperience at the top level.

Aguero will be ready for World Cup - Guardiola

The Manchester City striker is set to be included in Argentina's squad as they attempt to win the international tournament in Russia this summer 

Sergio Aguero is on track to be fit for Argentina's World Cup campaign after Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola stated the striker's recovery from minor knee surgery is progressing well.

Aguero underwent keyhole surgery on his right knee to curtail a season where he won his third Premier League title and scored 30 goals in all competitions.

The 29-year-old is set to be part of Jorge Sampaoli's plans in Russia as the country makes another tilt for World Cup glory.

 

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