Messi leads Argentina v Saudi Arabia in World Cup quest

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Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez returned to Argentina’s starting lineup on Tuesday as coach Lionel Scaloni made five changes for their World Cup group C opener against Saudi Arabia.

Martinez replaced Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez in the forward line alongside captain Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria, while Alejandro Gomez came in for Alexis Mac Allister in midfield.

There were three defensive changes from last week’s 5-0 thumping of the United Arab Emirates in the Albiceleste’s final World Cup warm-up.

Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico, and Cristian Romero all returned, with Lisandro Martinez, Marcos Acuna, and Juan Foyth dropping to the bench.

Saudi coach Herve Renard kept the same team that lost 1-0 to Croatia in a friendly last week.

Salman Al-Faraj captains the team despite a recent shoulder injury.

Argentina (4-3-3):

Emiliano Martinez; Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico; Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Alejandro Gomez; Lionel Messi (capt), Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria

Coach: Lionel Scaloni

Saudi Arabia (4-3-3):

Mohammed Al-Owais; Saud Abdulhamid, Hassan Al-Tambakti, Ali Al-Bulayhi, Yasser Al-Shahrani; Mohamed Kanno, Abdulelah Al-Malki, Salman Al-Faraj (capt); Salem Al-Dawsari, Firas Al-Brikan, Saleh Al-Shehri


Supersport/Samuel Isaiah

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