Argentina coach Jose Pekerman has sprung a couple of surprises in his team to face Ivory Coast in the World Cup opener on June 10.
Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze has been confirmed as a starter, but there is no place for Chelsea striker Hernan Crespo or Barcelona prodigy Lionel Messi.
Heinze has made a recovery from the serious knee injury he picked up in September and after impressing coach Jose Pekerman in a warm up game, will start for Argentina.
Pekerman has opted to pair Carlos Tevez and Julio Cruz in attack, meaning Chelsea’s Crespo and Barcelona’s Messi have to be content with places on the bench.
“The line up of the team for the debut in the World Cup will be the same as the one that played the last friendly match in Buenos Aires before we travelled to Italy,” said Pekerman from their training base in Rome.
Therefore, the Argentine team to face Ivory Coast will be as follows:
Roberto Abbondanzieri; Nicolas Burdisso, Roberto Ayala, Gabriel Heinze, Juan Pablo Sorin; Maxi Rodriguez, Javier Mascherano, Esteban Cambiasso, Juan Roman Riquelme; Carlos Tevez, Julio Cruz.
“We have been working very well and we still have ten more days and that will be very important,” added Pekerman.