Bielsa picks foreign-based players for Germany friendlyPosted: Wednesday April 03, 2002 5:24 AM
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa called up 19 foreign-based players Tuesday, to play Germany in the upcoming friendly at Stuttgart on April 17.
The match -- a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals -- will be Argentina's last warm-up game before this year's finals in Japan and Korea, which kicks off May 31.
Argentina faces Nigeria, England and Sweden in the World Cup first round.
The full national team for the Germany friendly will be finalized next week when Bielsa calls up his Argentina-based players.
So far Bielsa seemed to indicate his continued faith in off-form AS Roma striker Gabriel Batistuta by recalling him after resting the 32-year-old for Argentina's recent friendlies against Wales and Cameroon.
He also gave a big hint that Glasgow Rangers winger Claudio Caniggia will go to his third World Cup, by calling him up once again.
More surprising was the inclusion of Sporting Lisbon defender Facundo Quiroga, who will step into a back line that has shown increasing signs of wear and tear since Argentina qualified, last August. If he starts, it will be the 24-year-old's first cap.
Also picked was on-form Real Madrid striker Santiago Solari, who came on as a substitute during last week's 2-2 tie with Cameroon.
However Bielsa's decision to leave out FC Barcelona striker Javier Saviola makes it all but certain the talented 20-year-old will not go to the World Cup.
The rest of the International players chosen included the usual big guns; Manchester United midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron, AS Roma's Walter Samuel, Valencia's Pablo Aimar and Lazio's Claudio Lopez.
Lazio striker Hernan Crespo, midfielder Diego Simeone and Valencia defender Roberto Ayala are all ruled out of the Germany game through injury, though they should be back for the finals.
The speculation now surrounds which Argentina-based players Bielsa calls on next week. The biggest doubt is whether the coach will give Boca Juniors playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme one last chance to make it into the squad.
The full list of the 19 foreign-based players is:
GK's: German Burgos (Atletico Madrid), Pablo Cavallero (Celta Vigo).
Defs; Facundo Quiroga (Sporting Lisbon), Mauricio Pochetino (Paris St-Germain), Walter Samuel (AS Roma), Diego Placente (Bayer Leverkusen), Jose Chamot (AC Milan).
Mids: Marcelo Gallardo (Monaco); Javier Zanetti (Internazionale), Juan Pablo Sorin (Cruzeiro), Matias Almeyda (Parma), Juan Sebastian Veron (Manchester Utd), Pablo Aimar (Valencia), Gustavo Lopez (Celta Vigo);
Strikers: Cristian Gonzalez (Valencia), Claudio Lopez (Lazio), Claudio Caniggia (Glasgow Rangers), Gabriel Batistuta (AS Roma), Santiago Solari (Real Madrid).