Argentina taking fewer forwards than Brazil to World Cup

BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Argentina is taking nine defenders, seven midfielders and seven forwards to the World Cup in Qatar as coach Lionel Scaloni's team aims to build on its Copa America success.

Scaloni announced his 26-player squad — which contains two fewer forwards than the roster for traditional rival Brazil — in a video on Friday.

Argentina won the Copa America title in 2021, its first major trophy in 28 years, with 21 of the players chosen Friday having been in the Copa America squad.

Lionel Messi's team is unbeaten in 35 matches.

The 35-year-old Messi, who will play his fifth and likely last World Cup, is joined by other veterans in the squad, including striker Ángel Di María (34), defender Nicolás Otamendi (34) and goalkeeper Franco Armani (36).

Argentina has also rejuvenated its team since the 2018 World Cup, including forward Lautaro Martínez.

Argentina midfielder Giovani Lo Celso sustained a hamstring injury at the end of last month that ruled him out of the tournament.

Argentina opens in Qatar against Saudi Arabia on Nov. 22. Mexico and Poland are also in Group C.

____

Argentina:

Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martínez (Aston Villa), Gerónimo Rulli (Villarreal), Franco Armani (River Plate)

Defenders: Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Montiel, Marcos Acuña (both Sevilla), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Germán Pezzella (Real Betis), Nicolás Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martínez (Manchester United), Nicolás Tagliafico (Lyon), Juan Foyth (Villarreal)

Midfielders: Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton), Guido Rodríguez (Real Betis), Papu Gómez (Sevilla), Enzo Fernández (Benfica), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen)

Forwards: Ángel Di María (Juventus), Lautaro Martínez, Joaquín Correa (both Inter Milan), Julián Álvarez (Manchester City), Paulo Dybala (Roma), Nicolás González (Fiorentina), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)

___

AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Debora Rey, The Associated Press