Argentina head coach Jorge Sampaoli has admitted that the likes of Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi could miss out on the World Cup despite impressing for their respective clubs this term. The pair have enjoyed good run of form with Juventus and Inter Milan respectively, but Sampaoli has stressed that they have not been able to replicate the results at the national stage.
Sampaoli said: “It is complicated for Dybala to get used to our system. We couldn’t improve his performances and we have to evaluate if the current players [in this squad] are better than Paulo or if we have to keep working with Paulo to improve his performance. Icardi’s situation is similar to Dybala’s. The transition of Icardi’s performance from Inter to Argentina weren’t the best. I don’t dismiss him, but, as Argentina’s coach I have to focus on performances in the field.”
Dybala and Icardi have been fine touch this term with 21 and 22 goals respectively, but this has not been sufficient to make the cut, given the star-studded line-up of players ahead of them. The likes of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero are almost certain to take up the forward roles at the World Cup whilst Sampaoli has gone with a couple of domestic-based players in the form of Christian Pavon Lautaro Martinez, who could provide the X-factor at the global tournament.
Sampaoli has nevertheless suggested that he has yet to finalise his squad for the summer, and one of Dybala or Icardi could get the nod for the Argentines, who will be desperate to end their World Cup wait. Skipper Messi has already revealed that he may retire for good, if the nation fails at the upcoming tournament. Argentina came second best at the 2014 World Cup as well as the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Copa America.