5 Surprise Omissions from the Argentina World Cup Squad
In a team with so many great talents and such fierce competition, some players are bound to miss out.
Even so, the naming of Argentina's World Cup preliminary list did not fail to raise a few eyebrows.
Some of their great competitors will be watching Brazil 2014 from the comfort of their own homes after failing to win a place in Alejandro Sabella's initial group of 30. From goalkeepers to goalscorers, there were surprising absences across the pitch.
Which men will feel most aggrieved to miss out? Here are five of the most controversial exclusions from the 2014 World Cup for the Albiceleste.
Catania right-back Gino Peruzzi, the second cousin of Italy legend Angelo, is one of the hottest defensive prospects currently available to Argentina.
To see the ex-Velez prodigy miss out even on a place in the preliminary squad was a big shock—he was the only man missing from the 26-man group who played Romania earlier in the year.
It appears that coach Alejandro Sabella was swayed in the end by events in local football. River Plate are just one win away from lifting the final title, and Millonario players are hot property.
As a result, functional (if unexciting) right-back Gabriel Mercado made the cut, and not the young Sicily-based talent.
A member of Argentina's squad for the 2010 World Cup, Coloccini looked set to reach his second tournament after regaining favour under Sabella. Misfortune more than anything else, however, accounts for the Newcastle United star's absence from the preliminary list.
The centre-back was called up more than once for the Albiceleste by Sabella, but a series of injuries meant he could not make as much impact as he would have liked.
Still, if the coach was going to call up any Premier League central defender, one would have expected Coloccini to get the nod over Martin Demichelis.
The Argentine first-choice midfield is beyond doubt. A trio of Fernando Gago, Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria covers all the necessary requirements—strong tackling, intelligent distribution, explosive pace and a goalscoring threat.
With Gago and Di Maria's fitness in doubt, though, an alternative in the middle appeared to be a straightforward choice. However, for the second World Cup running, Cambiasso will miss out.
The coach overlooked the Inter legend in favour of players who have been with him from the beginning. In terms of squad unity, it is perhaps understandable. Nevertheless, Cucho's absence and the inclusion of Augusto Fernandez, Enzo Perez and others must raise an eyebrow.
Of all the five names on this list, the continued absence of Willy Caballero is perhaps the hardest to understand.
In other positions, there are plenty of players performing at the top of their ability on a weekly basis.
The same cannot be said between the posts.
However, it didn't make a difference. Sabella overlooked the Malaga titan in favour of playing time-starved duo Sergio Romero and Mariano Andujar, keeping faith in the pair who have been the preferred choice for Argentina for the last four years.
Even a heroic performance against Atletico Madrid, including a frankly magical save from compatriot Jose Sosa, could not help Willy make a late charge for contention.
The hashtag #TevezSeleccion was a top Twitter trend in Argentina throughout the day of the squad announcement, with thousands of fans proclaiming their loyalty to the talented striker.
Ultimately, it was all for nothing. Unlike predecessor Sergio Batista, Sabella was not swayed by public opinion to reverse his opinion and include Carlitos.
As the player himself had anticipated, per Metro, he will be visiting Disney World with his wife and kids while his former team-mates are in Brazil.