Brazil captain Thiago Silva is not concerned about coming up against Lionel Messi in Friday's clash with bitter rivals Argentina, rather seeing it as a source of pride to take on the Barcelona superstar.

Messi is back in the Argentina squad for the first time since the Copa America, where Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in July's semi-final.

After that controversial encounter, Messi accused CONMEBOL of corruption, earning a four-match ban and a $50,000 fine.

Messi is expected to make his return during the friendly clash in Saudi Arabia, and Silva prefers not to look at the situation with fear, instead relishing facing one of the best.

"We are not concerned but proud to have a chance to face him," Silva told reporters on Monday.

"They [Argentina] have their star, we won't have ours [Neymar, who is injured], but Brazil is Brazil, and we showed it during our Copa America win.

"They are living a different moment, as are we when you consider the last few matches. Brazil versus Argentina is always a great game, with great football and scoring chances.

"There's a 50:50 winning chance for each side - let's hope we are more inspired then than they are."

Brazil winger Willian added: "He [Messi] is a great player, unmatched, the best in the world. We've faced Argentina when he played before, and this will be just like those times.

"There must be more attention on him, we must restrict his spaces. We'll not man-mark him, but whoever is around him must close down the spaces, not leave him room to think."

Real Madrid youngster Rodrygo Goes is in line to earn his first senior cap at the tender age of 18 after breaking into the first team at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The wide attacker has already scored five goals in just six matches for Madrid, and Silva has been impressed, even suggesting he hopes Zinedine Zidane leaves the teenager out when Paris Saint-Germain take on the LaLiga giants in the Champions League later this month.

"The fact he's with the Selecao is a unique opportunity, he surely has dreamt about this moment," the PSG defender said of Rodrygo. "I hope he can enjoy it the best way possible.

"I have over 100 caps and every time I'm here, I feel the chills. I hope he has the wisdom to make the most of it.

"It's surprising really to most people, an 18-year-old with loads of personality. You see for the way he scores goals how calm and reserved this kid is, he's not doing it to show off.

"Let's hope Zidane keeps him on the bench! He's a player who'll demand more attention from your side. His quality speaks for itself."

Argentina pair Marcos Rojo and Roberto Pereyra have been ruled out of the country's international friendlies against Brazil and Uruguay.

As Lionel Messi prepares to make his comeback following a three-month suspension, Argentina defender Rojo and midfielder Pereyra have withdrawn from Lionel Scaloni's squad.

Rojo was ruled out following Manchester United's 3-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday in which he appeared at Old Trafford, while Watford's Pereyra succumbed to a hamstring injury.

Argentina have drafted in Boca Juniors' Alexis Mac Allister for Friday's showdown with South American rivals Brazil in Saudi Arabia and the November 18 fixture against Uruguay in Tel Aviv.

Messi is back in the squad after the Barcelona and Argentina captain was banned by CONMEBOL in August and fined $50,000 for accusing the governing body of corruption following his side's semi-final loss to Brazil at the Copa America.

The 32-year-old has missed Argentina's past four matches – all friendlies – which has seen the country rout Ecuador (6-1) and Mexico (4-0), and draw with Chile (0-0) and Germany (2-2).

South Africa made history on Saturday after beating England 32-12 in the Rugby World Cup final.

The Springboks had already lifted one trophy this year after winning the Rugby Championship in August, and, in Yokohama, Rassie Erasmus' team achieved something that had eluded rivals New Zealand and Australia in the past.

In the previous five years when there has been both a Rugby Championship – or its previous incarnation the Tri Nations – and a World Cup, the winners of the first tournament had subsequently failed to also deliver success on the global stage.

South Africa succeeded where these teams failed...
 

1999: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA

The All Blacks won the first two Tri Nations and made it three in four years by thrashing South Africa 28-0, beating Australia 34-15 and claiming another victory over the Springboks.

However, a 28-7 loss to the Wallabies in the final fixture suggested New Zealand were not so invincible...

At the World Cup, the great Jonah Lomu scored eight tries yet France stunned New Zealand 43-31 in the last four, with Australia then winning the final against Les Bleus.

2003: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – ENGLAND

Four wins out of four delivered another Tri Nations triumph for New Zealand.

The All Blacks scored 282 points in their four World Cup pool games in Australia too before easing past South Africa 29-9 in the quarter-finals.

But Elton Flatley's accuracy from the tee consigned New Zealand to another semi-final loss and sent Australia back to the final, where Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal in Sydney delivered a famous success for England.

2007: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – SOUTH AFRICA

Neither Australia nor South Africa could deny the All Blacks another Tri Nations title in 2007, though it was a Northern Hemisphere nation who would stop their run at the World Cup.

New Zealand led 13-3 in the first half of their quarter-final against France only to suffer another knockout loss to their World Cup nemesis as Yannick Jauzion scored a brilliant converted try 11 minutes from time to seal a 20-18 success.

Defending champions England beat France in the semi-final but Percy Montgomery won the battle of the boots with Wilkinson in the final as South Africa secured their second World Cup.

2011: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

In the final Tri Nations before Argentina joined to form the Rugby Championship, Graham Henry's team lost their last two matches as Australia triumphed for the first time in a decade.

The World Cup was hosted in New Zealand and after years of being the nearly men, it was the All Blacks' turn to taste global glory again.

France were their final opponents and, in a tense, low-scoring contest, New Zealand won 8-7.

2015: RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

Four years ago, Australia beat the other three nations to win the Rugby Championship, and came out on top of a World Cup pool that included Wales and hosts England.

The Wallabies narrowly saw off Scotland 35-34 and ousted Argentina 29-15 to set up a final with a New Zealand side that had hammered France 62-13 in the last eight.

No team had ever retained the World Cup before but Dan Carter shone on his international farewell to ensure Steve Hansen's side lifted the Webb Ellis Cup again.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde does not see Lionel Messi's recall to the Argentina national team as a setback to the LaLiga giants.

Messi was banned and fined $50,000 by CONMEBOL in August for accusing the governing body of corruption in the wake of Argentina's Copa America semi-final defeat to hosts Brazil.

The Barca talisman has missed Argentina's past four matches – all friendlies – as a result, but he was named in their latest squad on Thursday for upcoming matches against Brazil and Uruguay.

Those games will be played this month in Saudi Arabia and Israel, respectively.

Messi has suffered with injury problems this term, leading to some suggesting his return to the Argentina set-up could be a negative development for Barcelona.

Although Valverde's tone seemed to a suggest a hint of frustration, he refused to outright call Messi's call-up a problem.

"Look, we know that if Messi is active, there's a good chance he gets called up to the national team," Valverde told reporters on Friday.

"He hasn't been [in the Argentina squad] because of suspension, but now that's over it's normal for him to be back for Argentina.

"It's something we accept, he accepts. I don't think it's a setback as such."

Defender Samuel Umtiti has endured a wretched time with injuries over the past 18 months, playing just 15 LaLiga matches since the start of last season.

His solitary outing this term against Eibar last month was followed by another knee injury, though Valverde hinted he could potentially feature at Levante on Saturday.

"Let's see how he does in training today [Friday]," Valverde said. "He's had fitness issues hanging over from last year, that's why he's not playing regularly.

"Hopefully we can get this sorted once and for all so he can play more regularly, but the other thing is competition for places. Lenglet is playing very well.

"He [Lenglet] is an absolutely reliable player, very professional in what he does. He's really settling into his position.

"Shortly after arriving last season, he covered extremely well for Samuel and the French team is also aware of how well he is playing."

South Africa stand on the brink of making history when they face England in Saturday's Rugby World Cup final.

The Springboks have already lifted one trophy this year after winning the Rugby Championship in August, and Rassie Erasmus' team are looking to do something that has eluded rivals New Zealand and Australia in the past.

In the previous five years when there has been both a Rugby Championship – or its previous incarnation the Tri Nations – and a World Cup, the winners of the first tournament have subsequently failed to also deliver success on the global stage.

With South Africa in a position to finally end that sequence, we take a look at those who have previously conquered the Southern Hemisphere only to fall short at the World Cup.

 

1999: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA

The All Blacks won the first two Tri Nations and made it three in four years by thrashing South Africa 28-0, beating Australia 34-15 and claiming another victory over the Springboks.

However, a 28-7 loss to the Wallabies in the final fixture suggested New Zealand were not so invincible...

At the World Cup, the great Jonah Lomu scored eight tries yet France stunned New Zealand 43-31 in the last four, with Australia then winning the final against Les Bleus.

2003: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – ENGLAND

Four wins out of four delivered another Tri Nations triumph for New Zealand.

The All Blacks scored 282 points in their four World Cup pool games in Australia too before easing past South Africa 29-9 in the quarter-finals.

But Elton Flatley's accuracy from the tee consigned New Zealand to another semi-final loss and sent Australia back to the final, where Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal in Sydney delivered a famous success for England.

2007: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – SOUTH AFRICA

Neither Australia nor South Africa could deny the All Blacks another Tri Nations title in 2007, though it was a Northern Hemisphere nation who would stop their run at the World Cup.

New Zealand led 13-3 in the first half of their quarter-final against France only to suffer another knockout loss to their World Cup nemesis as Yannick Jauzion scored a brilliant converted try 11 minutes from time to seal a 20-18 success.

Defending champions England beat France in the semi-final but Percy Montgomery won the battle of the boots with Wilkinson in the final as South Africa secured their second World Cup.

2011: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

In the final Tri Nations before Argentina joined to form the Rugby Championship, Graham Henry's team lost their last two matches as Australia triumphed for the first time in a decade.

The World Cup was hosted in New Zealand and after years of being the nearly men, it was the All Blacks' turn to taste global glory again.

France were their final opponents and, in a tense, low-scoring contest, New Zealand won 8-7.

2015: RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

Four years ago, Australia beat the other three nations to win the Rugby Championship, and came out on top of a World Cup pool that included Wales and hosts England.

The Wallabies narrowly saw off Scotland 35-34 and ousted Argentina 29-15 to set up a final with a New Zealand side that had hammered France 62-13 in the last eight.

No team had ever retained the World Cup before but Dan Carter shone on his international farewell to ensure Steve Hansen's side lifted the Webb Ellis Cup again.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is back in Argentina's squad for next month's friendlies against Brazil and Uruguay after serving a three-month suspension.

Messi was banned by CONMEBOL in August and fined $50,000 for accusing the governing body of corruption following his side's semi-final loss to Brazil at the Copa America.

The 32-year-old has missed Argentina's past four matches - all friendlies - but is in line to make his return in November after being named in Lionel Scaloni's latest 26-man squad.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is also included for the first time since Argentina's 2-1 third-place play-off victory over Chile in the Copa America, while Tottenham midfielder Giovani Lo Celso returns after sitting out of this month's draw with Germany and victory over Ecuador.

There is still no place in the squad for Paris Saint-Germain's in-form striker Mauro Icardi, however, with his most recent cap coming against Mexico in November 2018.

Club team-mate Angel Di Maria, absent since the Copa America, is also missing again.

Argentina meet Brazil in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on November 15 and then travel to Tel Aviv, Israel, to face Uruguay three days later in the final international break of the calendar year.
 

Argentina squad in full:

Agustin Marchesin (Porto), Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal), Esteban Andrada (Boca Juniors), Juan Musso (Udinese); German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Juan Foyth (Tottenham), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Nehuen Perez (Famalicao), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Renzo Saravia (Porto), Walter Kannemann (Gremio); Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Guido Rodriguez (Club America), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla), Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Nicolas Dominguez (Velez Sarsfield), Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese); Lautaro Martinez (Inter), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Lucas Alario (Bayer Leverkusen), Nicolas Gonzalez (Stuttgart), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City).

Lionel Messi conceded his dreams of a fairytale return to Newell's Old Boys are fading as he reflected on the "madness" of Argentina's obsession with football.

Barcelona superstar Messi has long expressed a desire to end his career in his hometown of Rosario, where he played for Newell's as a child.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner left for Europe in his teens and acknowledges it would now be tough to ask his wife and three children to leave behind their life in Catalonia.

"I always say that I don't want to leave here, I have no thoughts of ​​moving," Messi told TyC Sports.

"I have the dream of being able to play for Newell's in Argentina, but I don't know if it's really going to happen because I have a family that is ahead of my desire.

"It's a dream I've had since I was little, but I have a family, I have three children, I live in a place that has given me everything and where I am calm and can give my children a spectacular future.

"We think much more about that than my desire of playing football in Argentina.

"I will try to convince the family, because today we have to convince the children too."

Messi's involvement in Argentine club football would invite immense interest and, though he relocated almost two decades ago, the 32-year-old is fully aware of the hostile intensity that surrounds his homeland's strongest rivalries.

According to the Barca captain, his club's encounters with Real Madrid do not stir the same level of manic passion associated with derbies like the Superclasico, contested by Boca Juniors and River Plate.

"I would like to have played in Argentine football in general," he said.

"I always went to the stadium with my old man, the crowd was impressive. Besides, playing in one of those Clasicos must be terrible. It's more or less the same [as in Spain], but people live it differently.

"On a sporting level, the match is the same, but people in Argentina are crazier about that issue. Not winning the Clasico means a lot. Here you want to win but, if you lose, nothing happens. There, you can't leave your house if you lose.

"All of the Clasicos are the same: in Rosario, in Cordoba, River-Boca, Independiente-Racing. In general people live it that way. The daily madness is carried into football and it's a disaster. 

"We go through qualifying [with the national team], although that's something else. We had to go all over South America and it is also brave, they do not let you sleep, they spend the night throwing things at you all in the hotels. Libertadores matches must be much worse still."

Lionel Messi insists he would not change anything about his decorated career in order to win a World Cup.

The lack of a major international honour remains the glaring absence in the Barcelona superstar's trophy haul.

He was named player of the tournament at the 2014 World Cup, where Argentina lost the final 1-0 against Germany in extra-time.

Last time around in Russia, a chaotic campaign ended in a 4-3 loss to eventual winners France in the last 16.

Messi will be 35 by the time Qatar 2022 comes around and, in an interview with TyC Sports, he appeared to accept the time for him to claim that elusive piece of history might have passed,

"I would have loved to be world champion," he said. "But I think I would not change anything I had in my career to be one.

"This is what touched me, what God gave me."

Messi captained Argentina to the semi-finals of the Copa America earlier this year, where they lost to hosts and subsequent victors Brazil.

In the previous two editions of the continental tournament, La Albiceleste lost consecutive finals to Chile on penalties.

The Rugby World Cup is headed for the knockout rounds after a dramatic pool stage in which Scotland were the biggest casualties.

Eight teams remain from 20, with hosts Japan – who have four wins from four – progressing as winners of Pool A after defeating Gregor Townsend's men on Sunday.

Japan also stunned Ireland in the same group, but Joe Schmidt's side progressed into the quarters in second.

In Pool B, two-time defending champions New Zealand finished top, with an impressive South Africa side behind them. Italy were frustrated as the impact of Typhoon Hagibis ended their slim chances of progression.

Meanwhile, England topped Pool C with France in second place, with Wales and Australia completing the last-eight line-up.

Using Opta data, we look back at an enthralling tournament so far.

Pool A – Japan, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, Russia

1 – Japan are into the knockout stage of a World Cup for the first time in their history, becoming the first non-tier one side to do so since Fiji in 2007.

5 – Kirill Golosnitskiy's scored in the fifth minute of the opening match as Russia took the lead against Japan. It is the quickest ever try in a World Cup opener.

2 – Scotland have failed to make it out of the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup for just the second time, after also doing so in 2011.

90 – Rob Kearney crossed for a try after just 90 seconds against Russia, Ireland's fastest World Cup try and the fastest of the tournament so far.

48 – Japan's Yu Tamura has scored 48 points so far, more than any other player. All of his points have come with the boot – 10 penalties and nine conversions.

Pool B – New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Namibia, Canada

4 – Canada had Josh Larsen sent off versus South Africa and have had four players dismissed in the history of the World Cup, more than any other side. There have been seven dismissals so far this tournament – four was the previous highest total in both 1995 and 1999.

17 – New Zealand have won their last 17 World Cup matches, the longest run by any side in the tournament's history.

21 – Against Canada, South Africa's Cobus Reinach scored the earliest hat-trick in a World Cup match, crossing for his third try in the 21st minute.

142 – After featuring against South Africa, Italy captain Sergio Parisse surpassed Brian O'Driscoll (141) to become the outright second-most capped player in Test rugby history behind Richie McCaw, who played 148 times.

Pool C – England, France, Argentina, Tonga, USA

20 – Against Argentina, Romain Ntamack, aged 20 years and 143 days, became the youngest player to feature for France in a World Cup match.

88 – Agustin Creevy won his 88th cap for Argentina when he played against England, overtaking Felipe Contepomi as Los Puma's most capped player.

6 – George Ford has been involved in six tries for England, more than any other player, scoring two and providing a tournament-high four assists.

Pool D – Wales, Australia, Fiji, Georgia, Uruguay

62 – Fiji's Semi Radradra topped the charts for carries (62), metres (400) and defenders beaten (29) in the pool stage.

94 – James Slipper scored his first try for Australia in his 94th Test when the Wallabies faced Uruguay. No player from any nation has played more matches before scoring their first try.

130 – By playing in Wales' win over Australia, Alun Wyn Jones overtook Gethin Jenkins (129) as the most capped Welshman, going on to make his 131st appearance against Fiji.

35 – At the age of 35 years and 186 days, Adam Ashley-Cooper is the oldest Australia player to make a World Cup appearance. He subsequently became their oldest try scorer in World Cup history, and their oldest in any match since 1966.

100 – Warren Gatland's side have won 100 per cent of their matches so far. It is the first time Wales have won all of their pool games since 1987.

Argentina striker Lucas Alario applauded "animal" Marcos Acuna after the Sporting CP star inspired Sunday's 6-1 friendly win over Ecuador.

Acuna, normally a left-sided attacker, has been deployed at full-back this season and filled that role impressively in Elche as Argentina romped to victory, coming in for Nicolas Tagliafico after he disappointed last time out.

The 27-year-old had a hand in the first three goals and was generally a lively presence up down the left flank.

Alario – who scored for the second match running – was particularly impressed, having opened the scoring with a header from Acuna's cross.

"Acuna is an animal," Alario told TyC Sports. "The routes he took… He was uncatchable.

"He runs all the time, he has a very good delivery and as a centre-forward, you have to take advantage of those qualities."

The victory ensures Argentina's international break will be seen in a largely positive light, having drawn 2-2 with Germany in a friendly on Wednesday, fighting back from 2-0 down.

Lionel Scaloni was left feeling encouraged, especially after being able to give so many players a run-out over the two games.

"In all the internationals we are satisfied, although it's true that because of the magnitude of the rivals we are also happy and that we could give many players minutes," Scaloni said.

"There is quality and desire to be here, too. We only need time and that the players play as they have done today [against Ecuador].

"The boys are understanding the changes and that must be valued. Honestly, I think these guys can give us a lot, although there are some things to correct.

"What I liked most was the last 20, 25 minutes, which was the period where the team pushed the most and ran despite the victory [already being secured].

"I am excited about the way these guys understand the meaning of this jersey. With these feelings it will be difficult to beat this team.

"There are five or six players who are the base and have always played. It is easy to know who they are: Lautaro Martinez, Leandro Paredes, Rodrigo De Paul, Nicolas Tagliafico, even Paulo Dybala and Marcos Acuna."

Argentina built on their promising second-half display against Germany by crushing Ecuador 6-1 in a friendly on Sunday, with Marcos Acuna playing a starring role.

Lionel Scaloni suggested the team produced their best performance of his tenure when fighting back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Die Mannschaft on Wednesday and they looked sharp again in Spain, albeit against more modest opposition.

As soon as Argentina took the lead through Lucas Alario's header, it never looked like being anything other than a comfortable win for La Albiceleste, who went into half-time three up thanks to a Jhon Espinoza own goal and Leandro Paredes' penalty – Acuna playing a role in each of the goals.

Angel Mena pulled one back early in the second half thanks to some woeful goalkeeping from Agustin Marchesin, but it was not the start of sensational comeback, as Argentina romped to victory with German Pezzella, Nicolas Dominguez and Lucas Ocampos getting in on the act.

But for an early Michael Estrada free-kick that flew just over, Argentina dominated the first half and were good value for the lead when Alario scored for the second game running, heading Acuna's corner in with 20 minutes played.

Acuna played a decisive role again seven minutes later, Pedro Ortiz failing to keep his left-wing cross out after it took a deflection off Espinoza.

It was 3-0 soon after thanks to Paredes' spot-kick – Dario Aimar penalised for fouling Lautaro Martinez following another teasing Acuna's delivery.

Ecuador made four half-time changes and one of those introduced took just three minutes to make his mark, as Mena found the top-right corner with a 30-yard free-kick from the inside-left channel to embarrass Marchesin, who seemingly thought it was going over.

Argentina stepped things up again, however, with Pezzella re-establishing the three-goal cushion 24 minutes from time with a header from Paulo Dybala's left-wing free-kick.

Dominguez then drilled a fine drive into the bottom-left corner and Ocampos rounded off an emphatic win from a tight angle after Ortiz had parried Dybala's curler.

 

What does it mean? La Albiceleste starting to click

There were hints of it in the second half against Germany, but Sunday's display provided more comprehensive proof that Argentina are beginning to find their groove once again.

While Ecuador are going through a difficult moment, Scaloni's side highlighted their technical qualities while working hard in a thoroughly professional showing.

Acuna stakes his claim

Nicolas Tagliafico's stranglehold on the left-back spot has frustrated some fans in recent times, particularly after a difficult outing against Germany. Acuna came in on Sunday and showed why many are calling for him to get a run in the side. Even if it was only against Ecuador, he was a constant threat on the left and his deliveries were exceptionally consistent.

Marchesin loses his bearings

Several Ecuador defenders produced unimpressive displays, but Argentina's Marchesin will go down as the flop of the match after his suspect goalkeeping for Mena's goal – the Porto man inexplicably letting it float over his head and into the net.

What's next?

Scaloni's men return to action next month in another friendly, as they face Paraguay in Bangladesh. Ecuador are yet to schedule any fixtures for the November international break.

Argentina captain Lionel Messi will make his return from suspension in November, insists head coach Lionel Scaloni.

Messi was handed a three-month ban from international football in August for accusing South America's governing body CONMEBOL of "corruption" during the Copa America.

After being controversially sent off in Argentina's third-place play-off win over Chile in July, Messi did not appear to collect his medal and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner later explained that he did not want to "be part of this corruption, this lack of respect towards the whole Copa".

Messi also blasted the officiating at the competition following Argentina's semi-final loss to hosts Brazil, before then suggesting referees and the VAR would favour Tite's men against Peru in the final, which the Selecao won 3-1.

The Argentina skipper has missed friendlies against Chile, Mexico and Germany, and he will sit out Sunday's clash with Ecuador ahead of next month's return.

Asked about Messi, Scaloni told reporters: "Messi is not here due to suspension.

"Sergio Aguero is not here because he's been carrying a problem and has not been training 100 per cent with his club.

"Surely both will be here next month."

Argentina are coming off a 2-2 draw away to Germany on Wednesday – a game in which Scaloni's men overturned a two-goal deficit in the second half.

Scaloni has already named his line-up for the match against Ecuador, with Agustin Marchesin, Juan Foyth, German Pezzella, Walter Kannemann, Marcos Acuna, Nicolas Gonzalez, Rodrigo De Paul, Leandro Paredes, Lucas Ocampos, Lucas Alario and Lautaro Martinez starting.

"The idea is to play with attacking players. With players that get to the penalty area," Scaloni said.

"We believe that this is the right way. We take decisions thinking about what is best for the team."

Lionel Scaloni thinks Argentina's 2-2 draw with Germany on Wednesday produced arguably the best performance of his spell in charge of La Albiceleste.

Argentina found themselves trailing 2-0 in Dortmund after 22 minutes of the international friendly, as Serge Gnabry prodded in from close range before teeing up Kai Havertz for his first Germany goal.

But Scaloni's substitutions helped inspire a comeback, as Lucas Alario – brought on for Paulo Dybala just past the hour – headed in and then Lucas Ocampos sealed a draw late on having been introduced at half-time.

Scaloni stepped in after Argentina's shambolic 2018 World Cup campaign and has often attracted criticism for his selections and disappointing displays against better opposition, although Wednesday's comeback left him optimistic for the future.

When asked if it was the best showing of his tenure, Scaloni told reporters: "Possibly, yes, considering the opponent, but we had great games before, with our attitude.

"What stands out, aside from the performance, was the attitude of wanting to overcome the score and not give the match away. That was our team's greatest virtue in the second half.

"It was a complicated match at 2-0, and it could've ended badly for us, but we read the match properly.

"What we were supposed to do in the first half didn't happen. In the second half it did. We've matured lot, that's what these matches are all about; growing for the future, with complicated things ahead.

"I think it [the second half] was the same as the first half, with the distinction that we didn't commit any mistakes at ball clearances.

"We had four mistakes in the first period; two of them were goals, the other two weren't.

"In these kinds of games, what matters is the functionality over the score. Logically, if we don't lose, it's better. The score comes second, most important is the performance.

"In the second half, I'll say it again, we saw another Argentina, a more decisive Argentina that knew what to do. But the first half needs to be properly analysed.

"There were mistakes and if we could erase those mistakes, the performance wasn't bad. Logically, Argentina were superior in the second half, so we must point out the good aspects and correct the bad ones from now on."

Joachim Low hailed Serge Gnabry's performance in Germany's 2-2 draw with Argentina as "very dangerous" but said he brought the Bayern Munich forward off to protect him from injury.

Gnabry netted Germany's opener after just 15 minutes of the friendly at Signal-Iduna-Park, taking his goal tally for club and country to six in his last four matches.

Kai Havertz added a second to give Low's men a 2-0 lead at half-time but Argentina took advantage of some poor second-half defending to level the match, with Lucas Alario and Lucas Ocampos on target.

Germany face Estonia in a Euro 2020 qualifying match on Sunday, and Low indicated his decision to replace Gnabry after 72 minutes with Schalke's Suat Serdar was made with one eye on that game.

"We didn't want Serge Gnabry playing for 90 minutes," Low told reporters.

"He has also played a lot of games lately. He went very fast and covered a lot of ground.

"Serge showed up almost everywhere, was always very dangerous and made the Argentine defence insecure in the first half. That's why it was clear from the outset that we would take him off the pitch after 70 minutes.

"We definitely need him in the next games, and the risk was too big for me that he could still injure himself there."

Low gave a glowing report on Joshua Kimmich's performance as captain, and explained his decision to give the Bayern Munich defensive midfielder the armband.

At the age of just 24, Kimmich has already earned 45 caps since making his Germany debut in May 2016.

"Jo [Kimmich] has been with us a long time," said Low. "He fits in with his personality. He's a role model when it comes to deployment. He is a role model in his whole attitude.

"Meanwhile he also has some experience. He can also verbally lead a team on the pitch. He is very good at organisation and gives instructions.

"He is also always omnipresent on the pitch. So it was clear to me that Jo [Kimmich] was captain today."

Lucas Ocampos scored his first senior international goal as Argentina pulled off a late fightback in a 2-2 draw with Germany, who let slip a two-goal lead in a game they dominated for an hour.

After Serge Gnabry skilfully put the hosts in front, Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz swept home Die Mannschaft's second of a game in which Argentina offered very little until substitute Lucas Alario pulled one back in the 66th minute.

Lionel Messi missed the game while he served a suspension but Lionel Scaloni fielded a strong team including Paulo Dybala, Lautaro Martinez and Roberto Pereyra in attack.

Low took the opportunity to give debuts to Gian-Luca Waldschmidt on the wing and Robin Koch in defence and was rewarded with an hour of dominance before a late rally culminated in Ocampos poaching an equaliser that silenced the crowd in Dortmund.

Argentina were undone after 15 minutes when Lukas Klostermann got around Angel Correa and played a low cross towards Gnabry, who nipped in ahead of three Argentina defenders and poked the ball into the far corner of the net from six yards.

Another Klostermann break brought Germany's second goal, the RB Leipzig wing-back pouncing after Marcos Rojo yielded possession and surging forward to feed Gnabry, whose slide-rule pass into the box found Havertz unmarked for an easy finish.

Marcel Halstenberg crashed a stunning 30-yard free-kick onto the underside of the crossbar before Argentina's Rodrigo de Paul hammered a similarly spectacular effort onto the post at the other end but at the interval the hosts deservedly led 2-0.

Emre Can forced Agustin Marchesin into a save on the edge of his penalty area early in the second half before Scaloni sent on Alario for Dybala.

The Bayer Leverkusen striker had been on the pitch just three minutes when fellow substitute Marcos Acuna picked him out with a floated cross from the left and he arrowed a header into the far corner of Marc-Andre ter Stegen's net.

A Joshua Kimmich free-kick tested Marchesin in the closing stages but the Porto goalkeeper punched it clear before Alario's run sliced Germany open and Ocampos side-footed home via a deflection off Can, beating Ter Stegen at his near post to Low's dismay.

 

What does it mean? Low's men took their foot off the gas

Germany face stiff competition from Northern Ireland and Netherlands to qualify for Euro 2020 but looked confident and incisive enough to beat almost anyone for an hour in Dortmund.

That assured display gave way to a disappointing half-hour in which Germany's inexperience perhaps took its toll.

Brandt bossed it

The best Germany teams of the last decade have always featured an imposing presence in attacking midfield, and Julian Brandt's high-pressing performance offered shades of Thomas Muller in his prime.

Rojo no show

Rojo went into this game having played just 30 minutes of Premier League football for Manchester United this season and it showed; he was hauled off at half-time.

What's next?

Germany face Estonia on Sunday in the battle of top versus bottom in Euro 2020 qualifying group C, while Argentina play another friendly against Ecuador in Spain.

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