Argentina end Higuain's exile for Spain, Italy clashes


Buenos Aires (AFP)

Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain was recalled to the Argentina squad after a nine-month absence on Thursday for pre-World Cup friendlies against fellow former winners Spain and Italy.

Higuain, 30, has 31 goals from his 69 international appearances and takes his place in a 22-man squad made up entirely of players based outside of Argentina.

National coach Jorge Sampaoli will however be without Javier Pastore of Paris Saint-Germain, Paulo Dybala of Juventus and Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi who are all injured.

Argentina, with Lionel Messi in the squad, will face Italy at Manchester's Etihad Stadium on March 23 and Spain at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, four days later.

Two-time world champions Argentina will also face Israel at a venue yet to be decided in their last warm-up game before opening their World Cup campaign in Russia against Iceland on June 16.

They also face Croatia and Nigeria in the group stage.

Argentina squad:

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Man Utd/ENG), Nahuel Guzman (Tigres UANL/MEX), Willy Caballero (Chelsea/ENG)

Defenders: Federico Fazio (Roma/ITA), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla/ESP), Nicolas Otamendi (Man City/ENG), Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton/ENG), Marcos Rojo (Man Utd/ENG), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon/POR), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax/NED), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica/POR)

Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Hebei Fortune/CHN), Ever Banega (Sevilla/ESP), Lucas Biglia (AC Milan/ITA), Leandro Paredes (Zenit Saint-Petersburg/RUS), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Giovani Lo Celso (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham/ENG)

Attackers: Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus/ITA), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/ESP), Sergio Aguero (Man City/ENG), Diego Perotti (Roma/ITA)