Argentine TV claims Jorge Sampaoli will play Boca Juniors striker Dario Benedetto ahead of star pair
SERIE A superstars Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi will both be left OUT of Argentina’s crucial World Cup clash with Ecuador.
Argentine TV claims to have found how under-pressure boss Jorge Sampaoli will line up in the crucial match against Ecuador.
The former Chile manager will continue with Boca Junior striker Dario Benedetto up top, at the expense of the Serie A superstars.
Argentina have endured a truly awful South American qualification campaign.
Heading into the final round of fixtures Argentina can still qualify automatically but it’s not guaranteed.
A win will see them at least reach the play-offs, but they need other results to go their way to pick up a top four spot.
How Argentina are on brink of Cup exit
It may come as a shock that Dybala, who already has 12 goals for Juventus this season, and six-goal Inter captain Icardi are mooted to be on the bench.
But neither player has impressed at all in this campaign.
Dybala has played eight matches and is yet to score – he was even sent off in the game against Uruguay.
Icardi has had less of a chance to impress, playing just three times in the whole campaign.
The pair started, with Messi against Venezuela last month but were both subbed off after failing to impress in the 1-1 draw.
During the campaign, which started back in 2015, Argentina has gone through a rotating cast of strikers – and managers.
Sampaoli is the third manager of this campaign.
And between him, Gerardo Martino and Edgardo Bauza, they have used a huge number of strikers.
Along with Messi, Dybala, Icardi and Benedetto, the trio have used Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez and Lucas Pratto in different parts of the qualification.
Creating chances and goals has been a problem throughout, with Lionel Messi their top scorer with only four goals in nine games.
Aguero, Icardi and Dybala have scored ZERO goals between them and Higuain has just one.
Only Bolivia have scored fewer than Argentina’s tally of 16 goals in 17 matches.
Rivals Brazil, in comparison, have 38 goals from their 17 matches and Edinson Cavani leads scorers with nine goals in 14 Uruguay matches.
Benedetto, 27, has never played outside of South America, spending four years in Mexico after coming through the ranks at Arsenal de Sarandi.
He moved to Boca in June 2016, scoring 23 goals to lead the club to the title.
It is not clear with Salvio or Emiliano Rigoni will line up on the right wing.
Angel Di Maria is expected to play in a midfield role alongside defensive pair Javier Mascherano and Lucas Biglia.
Sampaoli is expected to play a back three after playing a back four against Peru.
Marcos Acuna will be dropped, with Roma man Federico Fazio comin in.
Ever Banega and Alejandro Gomez will also be dropped for the game.
Lionel Messi had a night of frustration against Peru as Argentina face World Cup exit during qualifiers