Spaniard Maffeo named in Argentina squad for World Cup qualifiers

Argentina have called up Mallorca’s Spanish defender Pablo Maffeo for the first time ahead of this month’s World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Brazil in the squad announced by its FA on Friday.

The 26-year-old Maffeo, born to an Argentine mother, is joined by Olympiakos left-back Francisco Ortega as newcomers for the World Cup champions’ home game against Uruguay on Thursday and their trip to Brazil five days later.

The team led by captain and eight-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi includes Benfica forward Angel Di Maria after missing last month’s qualifiers due to injury.

Argentina are leaders in the South American qualifiers with 12 points after a perfect run in four matches. Uruguay are second with seven points, level with third-placed Brazil and fourth-placed Venezuela.

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