May 14, 2018 / 5:23 PM / 2 years ago

Soccer: Argentina put exciting Racing duo on World Cup long list

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Argentina Training - City Football Academy, Manchester, Britain - March 20, 2018 Argentina's Ramiro Funes Mori during training Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina named their 35-man long list for the World Cup in Russia on Monday with places for recovering Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori and Racing Club’s exciting young duo Lautaro Martinez and Ricardo Centurion.

There were also places for uncapped Sporting Lisbon midfielder Rodrigo Battaglia and River Plate goalkeeper Franco Armani.

The list, which must be trimmed to 23 by June 4, included Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, as well as Manchester United pair Sergio Romero and Marcos Rojo.

AC Milan’s Lucas Biglia, who has suffered from a recent back injury, was also on the list.

Argentina kick off their World Cup campaign against Iceland on June 16, before facing Croatia on June 21 and then Nigeria five days later.

World Cup winners in 1978 and 1986, the South Americans have not won a major international title since lifting the Copa America in 1993 and have performed inconsistently since losing to Germany in the final four years ago.

Although they reached the finals of the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, they lost both times and their current coach Jorge Sampaoli is their third in four years.

Sampaoli has overseen five wins in 10 matches, with their last three friendly games including a 4-2 defeat by Nigeria and a 6-1 mauling by Spain.

Reporting by Ramiro Scandalo. Writing by Andrew Downie; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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