Argentina begins players’ monitoring ahead of World Cup

Argentina ’s coach, Jorge Sampaoli may have commenced his preparation for the World Cup in Russia, as he began a tour of the various European leagues to monitor prospective players who will make his final squad.

Like in four of the last six World Cup tournaments, Argentina will again be facing the Super Eagles of Nigeria. They will also face Iceland and Croatia.

According to Kwese ESPN, Sampaoli has up to 60 players in his radar. Quoting local media in Argentina, Kwese ESPN reported that the 57-year-old coach left the Argentine capital city, Buenos Aires for Spain on Tuesday accompanied by his assistant Sebastian Beccacece and fitness coach Jorge Desio.

Before his departure, they told the local TyC Sports: “Our first stop will be Barcelona where we will talk with [Javier] Mascherano and Leo [Messi]. We will then go to Seville, Manchester, London, Liverpool and many more places.

“It’s going to be a very long and extensive tour. We will meet many players and I hope we make the most of it. We want to gain time. I will be talking to coaches of players that we are following, watch the training sessions and speak to players. The idea is to draw conclusions that will be positive with respect to the future.”

Asked if this tour will be crucial when considering the final squad, Sampaoli said: “No, I don’t think so. There will be a lot more events in the future that will determine a list that right now is conformed of 45 to 60 players, but has to be reduced to 23.

“There are going to be players in and out depending on form and injuries. That is what we will consider when making the final evaluation.”

La Albiceleste booked their place in Russia with a 3-1 win against Ecuador, courtesy of Messi’s hat trick. Argentina will face Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria in Group D of the World Cup.