Only a final day defeat to Brazil denied Argentina under-20s lifting the South American Championship in February but with a World Cup spot safely secured regardless, Fernando Batista wasn’t expected to make a huge number of changes to the squad that will travel to Poland later this month.
The most successful nation in under-20 World Cup history, Argentina won’t be favourites but still have a squad laden with individual talent.
A point made all the more apparent by Batista’s decision to leave out Borussia Dortmund defender Leonardo Balerdi and Vélez Sarsfield star Thiago Almada. The pair are two of nine players to have dropped out of the squad that achieved qualification in Chile earlier in the year.
The merits of Francesco Lo Celso, Julián López, Facundo Colidio, Lautaro Morales, Aarón Barquett, Maxi Romero and Manuel Insaurralde can be debated but Balerdi and Almada looked certainties to be included.
Balerdi completed a big money move to Dortmund in the days before the tournament in Chile began only for injury to force the centre back to miss much of the tournament and while Almada produced only flashes of his talent, the 18-year-old has gone from strength to strength in recent weeks and is now reportedly on the wish lists of Barcelona and Manchester City.