Rio Olympics 2016: Argentina announce 18 man squad for the Games
Argentina have announced their 18-man squad which will be going to Brazil for the 2016 Rio Olympics in August. Atletico Madrid’s Luciano Vietto and Angel Correa will headline the squad which features only two over-age players.
Argentine football has been going through tough times recently. Argentina suffered a tragic defeat to Chile on penalties in the Copa America Centenario Final in the United States last month which was soon followed by the announcement of Lionel Messi’s retirement.
Things got worse when Argentina coach Gerardo Martino resigned from his duties in the national team citing financial chaos in the Argentina Football Association and lack of preparedness for the upcoming Olympics. At a point of time, the AFA was unsure if they would field a team at all in Rio.
Julio Olarticoechea, who was one of the defenders in the Argentina squad that won the 1986 World Cup, was announced as the new coach ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Amid the turmoil, Argentina finally released the names of players who will be going to Brazil. There are no big names in the squad for the upcoming Olympics with the responsibility solely on youngsters to do the job. Highly rated Atletico Madrid duo, Angel Correa and Luciano Vietto, West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini and Diego Simeone’s son, Giovanni Simeone have been included to represent the Albiceleste in Brazil.
The likes of Paulo Dybala, Matias Kranevitter and Ramiro Funes Mori have not been included in the squad as their respective clubs did not give them permission to participate in the Olympics which would clash with the initial matches of the new season. Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi was also not called up by coach Olarticoechea, with defender Victor Cuesta and goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli the only over-age players.
Argentina are grouped with EURO 2016 finalists Portugal, Honduras and Algeria in Pool D. 16 teams, including FIFA World Cup winners Germany and hosts Brazil will participate in the event where Argentina have bagged the Gold Medal twice. Argentina play their first match in the Rio Olympics against Portugal on 4 August.
Argentina squad for Olympics in Rio de Janeiro:
Goalkeepers: Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad), Axel Werner (Atletico Rafaela).
Defenders: Jose Luis Gomez (Lanus), Lisandro Magallan (Boca Juniors), Lautaro Gianetti (Velez Sarsfield), Victor Cuesta (Independiente), Leandro Vega (River Plate) Alexis Soto (Banfield).
Midfielders: Santiago Ascacibar (Estudiantes), Mauricio Martínez (Union), Lucas Romero (Cruzeiro), Giovani Lo Celso (Rosario Central).
Forwards: Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid), Joaquin Correa (Sampdoria), Critian Espinoza (Huracan), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham), Luciano Vietto (Atletico Madrid), Giovanni Simeone (River Plate).