Sampaoli goes with youth in lagging bid for World Cup spot

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has put his faith in youth again as he tries to salvage the nation’s place in next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Sampaoli included 24-year-old Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi in the squad on Friday, again sidelining veteran Gonzalo Higuain of Juventus. Sampaoli also left Higuain off the team for Argentina’s previous two World Cup qualifiers.

Argentina is out of the top four automatic qualifying places from South America going into its final two qualifiers. It faces Peru in Buenos Aires on Oct. 5, and plays Ecuador in Quito in the Andes on Oct. 10.

Argentina finished runner-up to Germany in the last World Cup but has scored only 16 goals in 16 qualifying matches despite the presence of Lionel Messi, arguably soccer’s best player.