Argentina National Team coach Jorge SAMPAOLI’s press conference following the latest squad list is an interesting one, with names like Carlos TEVEZ, Paulo DYBALA and Fernando GAGO all mentioned.
With the coach releasing the latest squad on Thursday, the big talk was the exclusion of two European based heavyweights, Mauro ICARDI and Paulo DYBALA. Coach Jorge SAMPAOLI commented on it all. Here’s what he had to say:
Jorge SAMPAOLI’s press conference
“I don’t think it’s ideal to play against Spain, Italy and Israel and (AFA) president TAPIA already knows my opinion about it. I would have preferred that the game against Israel be played in Barcelona, but we have to comply. TAPIA told me that they are unavoidable commitments.
“We’re looking to call-up a right sided defender from the domestic league. If necessary, on current form, Carlos TEVEZ will be evaluated, just like a lot of other players.”
Jorge SAMPAOLI on Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
“Most of the players on the list are starters with their teams. Heading into the World Cup and with the little time we have, we have to know that incorporating players that don;t have a connection with the rest is a risk. We are always analyzing the players called-up and how they can be used at the World Cup.
“The certainties I have in regards to the list is 80%, it’s the other 20% that’s the most difficult. We have to build something that fills us with enthusiasm. We are convinced that we can have a great World Cup. Nothing can distract me of my goal which is to call-up the best players and put together the best performance for the Argentina National Team. We are analyzing very closely every player. We want the best players to be there, the one’s with the most experience.”
“That MASCHERANO is able to play 90 minutes every Sunday to me is better. A World Cup is not easy and he has experience.”
Jorge SAMPAOLI on DYBALA, ICARDI, HIGUAIN
“DYBALA, GOMEZ and ICARDI are players that we know very well. We want to see others to continue to compare them. These two matches won’t define anything for anyone. Our job as coaches is that the team’s connection with MESSI is the best it can be. We have to take advantage of Leo. Paulo DYBALA is an extremely valuable player. He’s coming off an injury and we think it’s better for him to regain his form with his club and not be on the list. I saw a more mature HIGUAIN. The players give you a certainty that if put together, we could have a great World Cup.
“We won’t be playing for points but playing to progress as a collective unit that will give us more security. We will have opponents who are tough up front.
“I watched Fernando GAGO. I saw in him a very respected player with a lot of enthusiasm. Lautaro MARTINEZ is a player that we’ve been following for some time. His present form allows us to analyze his possible call-up. PAVON is a player that is part of our process and to us appears to be important in the way we see the play. The local based players we are going to keep watching. I’m watching them all.”
Jorge SAMPAOLI on Argentina’s goalkeepers
“We have been evaluating the goalkeeping situation for some time. I think that looking at someone who has never been called-up to get incorporated with the little time we have, is difficult. Sergio ROMERO is a player that when asked to play, he does it in an acceptable way. We talked with his coach and we hope he has more minutes ahead of the World Cup.”