Soccer fans in Los Angeles may have liked the opportunity to see Messi, Mascherano, Agüero and Co. up close on Friday evening but after a summer of utter disappointment in Russia, for many closer followers of La Albiceleste the prospect of the old guard trotting out for a friendly against Guatemala would have been unappealing.
Instead, with Mascherano retired, Messi asking for some time away and Agüero left out, interim coach Lionel Scaloni has named a new-look Argentina squad that with so many young players breathes life into what had become something of a stagnant group.
This alone provides reason enough to watch Argentina’s meeting against Guatemala on Friday with interest as it could be the first opportunity for a glimpse into La Albiceleste’s future and the first tentative steps towards Qatar 2022.
The absence of Lionel Messi provided the major talking point in the build-up to September’s friendlies and Argentina will leave the number ten shirt unused as a result but that doesn’t mean that Scaloni is without exciting options in attack.
Scaloni and his staff of Pablo Aimar and Walter Samuel, know all about making the step from under-20 football to the senior side and will be hoping that their guidance can help the new generation from which Argentina must build.
With the AFA no closer to finding a permanent successor to Jorge Sampaoli, it could even be suggested that Scaloni is auditioning for the role on a full-time basis.