Former Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) star, Felix Orode has opined that Argentina will regret their coach’s decision to leave Inter Milan captain, Mauro Icardi out of their squad to the World Cup, and believes the striker’s absence is good news for Nigeria.
With Nigeria and Argentina set to do battle for the fifth time in a World Cup group match on June 26 in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, Orode, who now plies his trade in the South American country, believes the Super Eagles can take advantage of the development.
Already, tongues are wagging among soccer loving Argentine’s and soccer pundits over La Albiceleste coach, Jorge Sampaoli’s decision to leave out Icardi, of which Orode stressed that the player’s omission is a plus for Nigeria.
Jos-born Orode said the exclusion of Icardi, who is Italian Serie A joint top scorer with 29 goals in 34 games came as a surprise to most Argentines, but stressed that the team is still formidable in all departments.
He said: “Exclusion of Mauro Icardi from World Cup team is a plus for Nigeria because he is one of the deadliest and most clinical strikers in the world.
“He is one player Argentines were looking forward to for great goals in Russia, but having said that Argentina still remain Argentina, a tough team as usual.”
Argentina’s final squad has goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Willy Caballero (Chelsea), Franco Armani (River Plate), as well as defenders: Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Federico Fazio (Roma), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Nicolas Taglafico (Ajax), Javier Mascherano (Hebei Fortune), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon), Cristian Ansaldi (Torino).
Others are midfielders: Ever Banega (Sevilla), Lucas Biglia (AC Milan), Angel Di Maria, Giovani Lo Celso (both Paris St-Germain), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham), Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Maximiliano Meza (Independiente), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), as well as forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala (both Juventus), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City).