Argentina and Italy will play a friendly match in Manchester at the Etihad Stadium, which will be Argentina’s first serious test ahead of the World Cup after a miserable 4-2 defeat to Nigeria back in November. Italy has failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in fifty years, which is considered a national tragedy, especially given the fact they were unable to score a single goal in two playoff matches against Sweden. The previous five games Italy has played ended up with less than three goals including a disappointing 1-0 loss to the Blue-Yellows that cost them the World Cup participation. The Albiceleste, on the other hand, had a turbulent qualification campaign, securing their trip to Russia in the last round thanks to a 3-1 victory over Ecuador on the road after coming back from a one-goal down.
Jorge Sampaoli has included Ramiro Funes Mori and Gonzalo Higuain on his list instead of Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi, and Carlos Tevez, while the Blues’s coach, Luigi Di Biagio, gave a call to AC Milan sensation, Patrick Cutrone, leaving Mario Balotelli out of the squad. Simone Verdy from Bologna and Federico Chiesa from Fiorentina have also been introduced to the national team after stunning performances in Serie A.
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