As European national teams are set to contest the UEFA Nations league, Argentina will face Iraq in Riyadh as part of a tournament that also involves Saudi Arabia and Brazil.
Iraq has been given the all-clear by FIFA to host their first international matches in three decades in specific parts of the country, and also played a series of fixtures in Basra earlier in the year.
A high-profile fixture against Argentina will give Iraq ample preparation ahead of their participation in the 2019 Asian Cup, though several key members of interim coach Lionel Scaloni's side – such as Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain – will not feature.
Messi's future with his international team has been placed in doubt following Argentina's disappointing performance in the World Cup in which they were eliminated at the round of 16 stage at the hands of eventual winners France.
|Game||Argentina vs Iraq|
|Date||Thursday, October 11|
|Time||7pm BST / 2pm EST|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Romero, Herrera, Rulli|
|Defenders||Pezzella, Tagliafico, Bustos, Kannemann, Acuna, Funes Mori, Otamendi, Foyth, Saravia|
|Midfielders||Paredes, Pereyra, Meza, Ascacibar, Battaglia, Salvio, Lo Celso, Cervi, Vazquez, De Paul|
|Forwards||Icardi, Correa, Simeone, Dybala, Martinez|
There is no Messi, Aguero or Higuain for Argentina's squad to face Iraq, though Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala will be expected to have a starting berth. Goalkeeper Ricardo Armani is sidelined with injury.
Juan Foyth (Tottenham) and midfielders Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese) and Roberto Pereyra (Watford) were all called up to the senior team the first time.
Potential Argentina XI: Herrera; Pezzella, Bustos, Kannemann, Acuna; Paredes, Meza, Ascacibar, Battaglia; Icardi, Dybala.
|Goalkeepers||Hassan, Hameed, Talib|
|Defenders||Ibrahim, Adnan, Nadhim, Kadhim, Faez, Mhawi, Sulaka, Mohammed, Fanar|
|Midfielders||Abdul-Amir, Yasin, Kamel, Attwan, Rashid, Resan, Ali|
|Forwards||Meram, Fayyadh, Ali, Dawood|
Columbus Crew midfielder Justin Meram will be fit for Iraq to face Argentina after several spells spent on the sidelines.
Potential Iraq XI: Hassan; Ibrahim, Adnan, Nadhim, Kadhim; Abdul-Amir, Yasin, Kamel, Attwan, Rashid; Meram.
Messi was absent for Argentina's fixtures against Guatemala and Colombia earlier in the month, with Scaloni confirming that he will not feature for La Albiceleste for the time being.
"I spoke with Messi about 10 days ago, after the talk we made the final decision he is not to be called up," Scaloni told reporters.
"We do not talk about what could happen in a while, we talked about how the team played because honestly Leo sees everything.
"But not beyond that because in my head we have not planned more than six games."
The Barcelona star had a disappointing World Cup campaign in Russia earlier in the summer, missing a penalty against Iceland in the group stages and scoring just one goal during the entire competition.
His continuing absence has prompted questions about his future with the national side following the pressures he has faced with Argentina.
Messi announced his retirement from the Argentina side in 2016 following their defeat to Chile in the 2016 Copa America final, but later retracted his decision – and was pivotal in securing a spot in the World Cup final during the qualifying campaign.
The 31-year-old has been involved in four major final defeats with Argentina, including the 2014 World Cup final loss to Germany, and the next major tournament for La Albiceleste will be the 2019 Copa America in Brazil – which could mark his last opportunity to lift a trophy with his country, unless he retires from international football before then.
Following the game against Iraq, Argentina will face Brazil in a massive friendly on October 16 in King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah.
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