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Sampaoli has ‘45 to 60’ players under WC scanner
January 04, 2018
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Buenos Aires: Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has revealed he is monitoring up to 60 players as he decides upon his squad for this year’s World Cup in Russia.

Sampaoli and his backroom staff will embark on a tour of Europe on Thursday to hold a series of meetings with Argentine players and their respective club coaches, as well as others with links to the Albiceleste’s World Cup opponents, according to media reports.

“We will start by conducting interviews related to our [World Cup] rivals in the first round,” Sampaoli told reporters.

“We want to see what is happening... In particular we want to speak with coaches of players that we are following. We also want to speak with coaches who can tell us of their experiences at previous World Cups,” he added.

Among the players being watched closely is Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, who has yet to play in a competitive match under Sampaoli since he took charge of the national team in June.

“We are going to speak with Gonzalo, like we will with others,” Sampaoli said.

“From a list de 45 to 60 players we have to choose 23. We hope to have the passion and wisdom to allow us to make the right choices,” he continued.

Argentina struggled throughout the South American qualifying campaign, only securing a World Cup place in the last match against Ecuador in October with a Lionel Messi-inspired 3-1 victory in Quito.

The two-time World Cup champions have been drawn in the same group as Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria for football’s biggest tournament, which kicks off in Moscow on June 14.

Agence France-Presse

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