Ibrahimovic and Coutinho Return, Eight U20 Men Named in Argentina World Cup Qualifiers Squad

Two senior stars, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Phillipe Coutinho, make their return to the Sweden and Brasil squads respectively for the upcoming World Cup 2022 Qualifiers next week, while Argentina picks eight U20 players.

The final stages of the World Cup 2022 Qualifiers are about to begin. Senior names in the squad would frequently be required to keep the team’s confidence high. Their experience dealing with pressure during critical times may be needed. Perhaps that’s what Janne Anderson and Tite had in mind when they summoned those two veterans.

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni, on the other hand, takes the opposite approach. Despite the fact that Messi is still injured after being substituted at the interval against Lille, he chooses to name several uncapped youngsters in the squad. It is regarded as a daring move by the Argentine.

Ibrahimovic and Coutinho Return, Argentina Name Eight U-20 men in the World Cup Qualifiers Squad 

The Expected and Unexpected Returns 

The return of Ibrahimovic has been quite expected although he is now turning 40 years old. Ibra’s form in Serie A with AC Milan has been undeniably positive. This season, the Swede has registered three goals and one assist in five appearances. He was actually set to make his return in EURO 2020 last summer but unable to do so due to his injury. 

After coming back from retirement last March, the former LA Galaxy man is the ideal leader in Sweden national team today. Ibra excels at motivating the younger stars such as Alexander Isak and Dejan Kulusevski to thrive in the crucial game against Georgia and Spain.

Blagult is recently at the top of the table with two points difference from La Furia Roja. Securing four points would be enough for Emil Forsberg and Co to seal one berth in Qatar 2022 automatically. Here is the complete list of names in the squad.

Goalkeepers: Robin Olsen, Pontus Dahlberg, Kristoffer Nordfeldt

Defenders: Victor Lindelof, Emil Kraft, Ludwig Augustinsson, Daniel Sundgern, Alexander Milosevic, Sebastian Holmen, Joakim Nilsson, Martin Olsson

Midfielders: Mathias Svanberg, Viktor Claesson, Magnus Eriksson, Oscar Lewicki, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg, Jesper Karlsson, Jens Cajuste, Kerim Mrabti, Kristoffer Olsson

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexander Isak, Dejan Kulusevski, Robin Quaison, Viktor Gyokeres.

Meanwhile, Tite’s decision to name Barcelona man who has just returned from the injury, has been quite a surprise. Phillipe Coutinho earned his last call-up in October 2020 while Brazil trashed Peru 4-2. He is currently still struggling to improve his form. So far the 29-year old midfielder has only netted one goal in eight games of La Liga.

This is in stark contrast to Vinicius Jr, who was snubbed despite having outstanding form this season. The 21-year-old winger has nine goals and five assists for Real Madrid in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. Unfortunately, it is not enough to convince Brazil’s coach to include him in the squad.

The Selecao will face Colombia on November 11, 2021, followed by Argentina five days later. Here are all the players included in the current squad. 

Goalkeepers: Alisson Becker, Ederson Moraes, Gabriel Chapeco

Defenders: Danilo, Emerson Royal, Alex Sandro, Renan Lodi, Eder Militao, Lucas Verissimo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva

Midfielders: Casemiro, Fabinho, Fred, Gerson, Lucas Paqueta, Coutinho

Forwards: Antony, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus, Matheus Cunha, Neymar, Raphinha

The Youngsters Who Impress Scaloni 

If Brazil excludes their young stars, their archrival opts the opposite. Albiceleste boss’ Lionel Scaloni surprisingly has named eight U20 figures for their upcoming fixtures against Uruguay and Brasilia on November 12 and 16. 

Among those youth names, only one of them is fairly well-known, Velez’s star Thiago Almada who has bagged four goals and provided four assists this season. The rest of them are quite unheard of. There are the 17-year old Tigre goalie Federico Gerth, two River Plate men, Santiago Simon and Enzo Fernandez, two from Boca side, Ezequiel Zeballos and Christian Medina, Juventus U23 man Mathias Soule and Rosario Central center back Gaston Avila.

At the same time, Scaloni has ruled out calling up Villarreal goalkeeper, Guillermo Rulli, Nice goalkeeper Walter Benitez, Lens defender Facundo Medina or even Verona striker who has been on fire lately Giovanni Simeone. There has not been any confirmed reason why the former Jorge Sampaoli’s assistant in World Cup 2018 pick those inexperienced figures for their tough encounters. Here are the 34-man Argentina squad for next week’s World Cup Qualifiers.

Goalkeepers: Franco Armani, Emiliano Martínez, Juan Musso and Federico Gomes Gerth.

Defenders: Nahuel Molina, Gonzalo Montiel, Germán Pezzella, Cristian Romero, Nicolás Otamendi, Lucas Martínez Quarta, Nicolás Tagliafico, Marcos Acuña, Lisandro Martínez and Gastón Ávila.

Midfielders: Guido Rodríguez, Leandro Paredes, Enzo Fernández, Rodrigo De Paul, Exequiel Palacios, Giovani Lo Celso, Nicolás Domínguez, Nicolás González, Santiago Simón, Cristian Medina and Matías Soulé.

Forwards: Ángel Di María, Lionel Messi, Ángel Correa, Lautaro Martínez, Paulo Dybala, Julián Álvarez, Joaquín Correa, Thiago Almada and Exequiel Zeballos.

Main Image Credit Embed from Getty Images

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