Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni claimed Lautaro Martinez and Paulo Dybala are the future of the national team ahead of Wednesday’s friendly with Germany.

Scaloni confirmed his starting lineup for the international in Dortmund and named the pair to start up front in the absence of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and a host of players from River Plate and Bocas Juniors, who have been withdrawn due to Copa Libertadores commitments later this month. 

The 41-year-old is looking to integrate fresh names into the team ahead of back-to-back Copa America’s and the start of 2022 World Cup qualifying next year.

In-form Martinez and Dybala both scored in Sunday’s top-of-the-table Derby D’Italia as Juventus defeated Inter Milan 2-1, and Scaloni is excited to seeing the pair link-up for their country.

"I think they will be called up to the Argentina National Team for many years and in this change and re-structuring, they are the ones who should hold the flag up high," he told reporters. "They are good friends and more importantly the future of this shirt. Last Sunday’s game was very good and we hope they play well together (on Wednesday).

"They (Germany) have great players that are out due to injury but we do as well and they are just as important as their players. It’s a challenge and many of them who will go out tomorrow will find out if they are capable of playing.

"I believe this is the last step in finalising our squad and seeing who we have.”

Argentina’s friendly with Germany is the first of two European-based friendlies for La Albiceleste with a fixture to come against Ecuador at the Elche’s Martinez Valero Stadium on Sunday.

Ilkay Gundogan and Jonathan Tah will join a long list of Germany absentees after they were each ruled out of their friendly with Argentina. 

Die Mannschaft take on La Albiceleste in a rematch of the 2014 World Cup final won by Germany in Dortmund on Wednesday.

Toni Kroos, Leroy Sane, Antonio Rudiger, Timo Werner, Leon Goretzka and Matthias Ginter are all unavailable, and coach Joachim Low revealed Manchester City midfielder Gundogan and Bayer Leverkusen defender Tah will also miss out. 

Tah has an illness, while Gundogan is struggling with a muscle problem, though he could return for Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifier with Estonia.

Marco Reus is a doubt with a minor knee injury, with Robin Koch and Sebastian Rudy having been called up to the squad following the spate of withdrawals.

"You just have to live with that. It is not a situation I wished and would want. It is not an ideal situation. It is rare to have so many absences," Low said on Tuesday.

"It is a tense situation and not a happy one. It will be difficult to have high expectations from the team. But the team will be engaged and serious because Argentina are a tough opponent."

On Reus, Low added: "We will have to see. He will train this evening and then we will see if it makes sense to use him."

 

Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen insists he has a "good and professional relationship" with Manuel Neuer.

A public spat that drew in the likes of Bayern Munich chairman Uli Hoeness and DFB director Oliver Bierhoff erupted last month, concerning the relative claims of Ter Stegen and Manuel Neuer to being Germany's number one.

Bayern's Neuer, captain for club and country, has long been first choice, although Ter Stegen' performances for Barcelona over the past couple of seasons have been superb.

The younger man expressed frustration over his status within Low's squad, eliciting a response from Neuer before both men – largely unsuccessfully – sought to draw a line under the episode.

Ter Stegen will get a chance to press his claims with a start against Argentina in Dortmund on Tuesday and maintained there is no problem between his rival for the shirt.

"It's an opportunity for everyone and that's true for me as well," Ter Stegen told a pre-match news conference.

"This is a competitive sport. Everyone wants to play and that's the case for every position, not just the goalkeeper.

"There are no discussions, no disputes or any moments where we tell each other, 'Now we absolutely need to talk!'.

"We talk every day and have a good and professional relationship."

"He has an advantage, I have to perform the best way possible, prove myself and make that decision as hard as possible."

Ter Stegen added: "The head coach has made his decision so it’s up to me to perform well for both club and country.

"I will give everything to become the number one. That is my personal goal. But that is not related to other people.

"The big goal overall is a successful tournament [Euro 2020] for the team."

Ter Stegen's Barca colleague Lionel Messi will not be involved for Argentina – not that he minds particularly.

"It would have been great to face him, but perhaps it's not bad that I don't have to face him," added Ter Stegen.

Argentina will be without Tomas Lavanini when they round off a disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign against the United States.

Lock Lavanini was banned for four matches after he was sent off 18 minutes into the 39-10 defeat to England that all but ended Argentina's hopes of progressing to the last eight.

After France defeated Tonga, the Pumas will be playing for nothing more than pride in their Pool C finale in Saitama on Wednesday, while USA are eyeing a first World Cup win since 2011.

Eagles fly-half AJ MacGinty believes Argentina could be ripe for the taking.

"With Argentina's short turnaround, then losing to England and not qualifying and the disappointment they're facing, they might not show up as well as they would have if they were qualifying," he said.

"Any time we play competitive games against the tier one nations, I feel like we get better week to week. Having the games against England and France, the pressure is on us to deliver another performance that's even better than the France game.

"Our focus is on that. If we can do that as a squad and as individuals, then that puts us in a good place for beating Argentina."

Nicolas Sanchez returns for Argentina as one of nine changes made by coach Mario Ledesma, while 20-year-old scrum-half Ruben de Haas has been handed a first start for USA.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Argentina - Julian Montoya 

Hookers are rarely prolific try scorers, but Montoya has crossed four times in this World Cup. With another try against USA, he will move level with Juan Imhoff for the most scored by a single Argentina player at a World Cup.

United States - Joe Taufete'e

Montoya's opposite number, Taufete'e has scored more tries (20) than any front-row forward in Test history. However, he has not touched down at a World Cup. For a side that provided little attacking threat against England and France, his ability to end that wait may be key to their hopes of a shock.


KEY OPTA FACTS

- Argentina have won all eight of their previous matches against USA, with their past three wins coming by an average margin of 30 points.

- The Pumas have won their last 12 World Cup matches against non-tier one opposition, their last such defeat coming in 1995 against Samoa.

- USA conceded seven tries against England and five against France, they have not conceded four or more tries in three consecutive World Cup games since doing so in eight straight games between 1987 and 1999.

- Cam Dolan is set to win his 50th cap for USA. He has 16 tries for the Eagles, only three players have more (Vaea Anitoni, 26; Taufete'e, 20; Paul Emerick 17).

Sebastian Rudy is back in the Germany squad, with Joachim Low also calling up uncapped defender Robin Koch.

Midfielder Rudy has not played for his country since November 2018 but after helping Hoffenheim win at former club and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on Saturday has earned a recall from Low.

Germany are without Toni Kroos for games against Argentina and Estonia after the Real Madrid midfielder pulled out through injury, while Cologne left-back Jonas Hector also withdrew.

Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan is a doubt to face Argentina in a friendly on Wednesday due to a muscle problem and Timo Werner is yet to join the squad because he has flu.

Matthias Ginter was another absentee from the group that met on Monday as the Borussia Monchengladbach player has a shoulder injury.

Low previously called up Suat Serdar of Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen's Nadiem Amiri, with the duo in line for their first senior appearances for the national team. 

Freiburg's Koch is another potential debutant with the defender, Amiri and Serdar all part of the Germany squad that reached the final of this year's European Under-21 Championship.

After facing Argentina - who are without Lionel Messi - Germany travel to Tallinn for a Euro 2020 qualifier against Estonia on Sunday.

Germany are level on points with Northern Ireland at the top of Group C despite a 4-2 home loss to Netherlands last month.

Tomas Lavanini has been given a four-match ban after he was sent off in Argentina's Rugby World Cup defeat to England.

The lock was shown a red card in the 18th minute of Argentina's 39-10 loss on Saturday, which put paid to the Pumas' hopes of progressing to the last eight.

Lavanini, 26, led with his shoulder and caught England captain Owen Farrell at neck height.

He admitted to an act of foul play at a disciplinary hearing and will miss Argentina's final Pool C clash with the United States, as well as three games for new club Leicester Tigers, having joined the Premiership side from Jaguares.

Lavanini will be free to play from November 1 and could make his debut against Gloucester a day later.

Eddie Jones will not consider resting key players for England's final Pool C fixture against "impressive" France, despite already securing a place in the quarter-finals.

England eased past 14-man Argentina on Saturday, with a 39-10 result at Tokyo Stadium securing them a third straight bonus-point win at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

They are now certain to go through from the group with a game to spare, though potentially face a showdown with France next Saturday to decide who will finish top of the table.

Les Bleus have also beaten Argentina and Jones expects a tough battle in Yokohama, particularly as their Six Nations rivals have seemingly gone back to their roots since Fabien Galthie joined the coaching staff.

"They [France] were impressive in the first game against Argentina," the England head coach told the media after the game with the Pumas.

"They played some great rugby and got two unstructured tries at the start of the game.

"They look like, with Galthie having an influence in their coaching, they are getting back to more of their game, a little bit of an offload and support game. We are going to have to work very hard defensively against them.

"The set-piece is always challenging against France, they have a particularly big team, so our preparations have to be spot on."

England know top spot will see them face the second-placed team in Pool D, which - if results run true to form - will be Australia. Yet Jones is only focused on France - and has no intention of letting his squad's standard slip.

"We are building. We want to get better next week. We will have a look at selection and pick the best 23 to get better," the Australian said.

"We don't want to look too far ahead - that's for you guys [in the media]. We don't get the luxury of doing that.

"We just worry about one day at a time. We've got to make sure we have a good recovery tomorrow and a walk-through, then we worry about the next day."

Billy Vunipola came off at half-time against Argentina and while initially joking it was due to too much Kobe beef, Jones revealed the forward had likely suffered a twisted ankle, adding: "I don't think it's too serious."

Eddie Jones declared England are "exactly where we wanted to be" after securing a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with victory over Argentina on Saturday. 

Jones side' ran out comfortable 39-10 winners at Tokyo Stadium following a first-half red card for Tomas Lavanini, the Pumas second rower dismissed for a high challenge on England captain Owen Farrell. 

Ben Youngs scored one of his side's six tries on his 92nd appearance - taking him past Jonny Wilkinson to become his country's most-capped back - while substitute Jack Nowell also crossed on his return from injury. 

While admitting his team were a little rusty after two "easy" games in the group, head coach Jones was pleased to seal progression from Pool C with a game to spare. 

"We are exactly where we wanted to be," the Australian said. "We have 15 points after three games and have played in front of a fantastic crowd at Tokyo Stadium. 

"We were a bit rusty after two easy games and a long break - that came out in the first half. In the second half, we had a bit better rhythm." 

Youngs and Billy Vunipola did not appear for the second half, though Jones dismissed concerns over the latter's fitness. 

Asked if Vunipola was taken off as a precaution, he replied with a smile: "He had too much Kobe beef mate!" 

While England will expect to take on France next weekend in a battle to decide who will finish top of the table, Argentina are seemingly set to exit at the round-robin stage. 

Pumas head coach Mario Ledesma praised the way his players stuck to their task following the 17th-minute dismissal of Lavanini, with Matias Moroni running in a consolation try late in the second half. 

However, the defeat means Argentina now need Les Bleus to lose to Tonga if they are to have any hope of joining England in the last eight. 

"Obviously after the red card it became a little bit hard," Ledesma said. 

"We made many easy mistakes which we could have avoided, especially in the second half, we couldn't build momentum. 

"We were with a man less, so we needed clear ball. We had a couple of good plays that we couldn't do, and obviously in the second half it became too hard for the boys. 

"The commitment from them was incredible. It became too difficult, but that never stopped fighting." 

England secured their place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with a game to spare as they brushed aside 14-man Argentina 39-10 at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday.

Jonny May had already crossed for the first of England's six tries when Tomas Lavanini saw red for a high tackle on Owen Farrell in the 17th minute.

The second-row led with the shoulder and also caught the England captain around the neck, leaving referee Nigel Owens with little choice but to send him off.

The dismissal came with the score at 5-3 but effectively ended the clash of the top-tier nations as a contest, with Eddie Jones' side capitalising on the extra space to run out comfortable winners.

Elliot Daly reached the line despite a juggling act with the ball, while Ben Youngs produced a burst from the base of a ruck before half-time, the scrum-half having also crossed against the Pumas in the 2011 tournament.

Farrell struggled with his kicking, missing his first four attempts at the posts in the first half to leave the score at 15-3, yet his profligacy off the tee was never going to prove costly in the final reckoning.

The centre did land the extras after George Ford forced his way over from close range and a further penalty made it 25-3 after 53 minutes, raising the possibility of a second-half avalanche of points from England.

Instead they eased up, allowing Argentina to grab a consolation try through Matias Moroni following an excellent line-out move.

Conceding sparked England into life again, though, as substitute Jack Nowell marked his first appearance back from injury with a smart finish in the right corner before the pack carried Luke Cowan-Dickie over the line.


Youngs at heart

Scrum-half Youngs marked his 92nd Test appearance - seeing him overtake Jonny Wilkinson to become the most-capped back for England - with a well-taken try.

Jones' squad were efficient rather than excellent, as has been the case in the World Cup so far, but it will be a major boost to see Nowell and prop Mako Vunipola - both on as second-half replacements - back in action.

Shouldering the blame

Argentina had fronted up during the first quarter, even taking the lead with a penalty from Benjamin Urdapilleta.

However, Lavanini's red ruined their hopes of an upset result that would have put the pool back in the balance. Now the Pumas seem certain to be returning home early with their tails between their legs.

What's next?

Top spot in Pool C will be up for grabs when England take on France in Yokohama next weekend. Argentina, meanwhile, complete their round-robin fixtures by facing the United States on Wednesday.

Lewis Moody thinks Agustin Creevy's "boring" jibe could fire England up to "take Argentina apart" in a Rugby World Cup showdown on Saturday.

Former Pumas captain Creevy took a swipe at the Pool C leaders' style of play ahead of a crunch clash at Tokyo Stadium.

Jamie George said Creevy, who will start on the bench, had clearly not been watching Eddie Jones' side and believes his fellow hooker was probably trying to "rattle" them.

Former England flanker Moody does not expect the favourites to fall into the trap of losing their discipline as a result of Creevy's remarks and feels the veteran's mind games may come back to haunt him.

Speaking on behalf of Land Rover, Official Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2019, he told Omnisport: "England will probably revel in Creevy's comments because they are capable of scoring wonderful tries and they want to be fired up.

"They need that sort of energy to want to go and take Argentina apart and comments like that will only fan the flames of their desire to go and put one over on them."

Moody expects England to secure a third win out of three and seal their place in the quarter-finals.

The 2003 World Cup-winner added: "I am confident England have the strength in depth and the quality to deliver what they need.

"It's just whether they can weather the emotional storm that will come their way from Argentina and whether, in what I imagine will be a close game, England have gained enough confidence and believe in themselves in the game they have played in the last six to eight months to put the match away.

"If they get ahead on the scoreboard, they really need to put the game to bed. They can do that but Argentina will not roll over."

 

- Land Rover is official Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2019.  With over 20 years of heritage supporting rugby at all levels, Land Rover is celebrating what makes rugby, rugby. #LandRoverRugby

England face their first Tier One opponents at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday and coach Eddie Jones is looking for his players to prove they can thrive against Argentina.

Jones' men secured routine bonus-point wins over Tonga and the United States in their first two matches of the tournament, but the Pumas will provide a sterner test in Tokyo.

England then round off the group phase against France and, should they progress to the quarter-finals, they will likely face either Australia or Wales before a potential semi-final against reigning champions New Zealand.

The big-match temperament of Jones' players came into question when they lost five successive Test matches in 2018 - they also lost to the Barbarians - while they lost both of their fixtures against Tier One opponents at the 2015 World Cup.

However, England's coach has taken measures to ensure his team is better equipped for such high-profile encounters, though he concedes the proof will be in the pudding.

"We have worked hard on it, we've worked hard on creating training situations to equip the players for it," Jones told a news conference.

"The players have worked hard off the field to handle situations well. Like anything, it’s a bit like a tea bag, isn't it? You don't know good it is until you put it in the hot water."

Argentina, who are on the brink of elimination having already lost to France, have cranked up the mind games ahead of the encounter, with hooker Agustin Creevy describing England as "boring" and stating the match will be "like a war".

Jones has warned his team to keep their heads in the face of those comments

"You've got to be smart about that thing. Rugby is a tough physical game, we've seen that already at the World Cup," Jones added.

"The passion and pride come out in the toughness within your play but then there is the emotional control. When you've got a lot of passion and pride it tends to multiply your strengths and multiply your weaknesses.

"We obviously want to multiply our strengths and attack their weaknesses."

Angel Di Maria has revealed Lionel Messi left his Argentina team-mates in tears with a rousing speech following their defeat to Brazil at the Copa America.

Argentina suffered a 2-0 semi-final loss to the eventual champions Brazil in Belo Horizonte in July.

Messi captained his national side and was proud of their display in the tournament, which culminated in victory over Chile in the third-place play-off.

La Albiceleste fell short in a major competition yet again, but Di Maria was inspired by what Messi had to say.

"He said some beautiful words when we were eliminated by Brazil," Di Maria told ESPN Argentina. "Messi told us he was proud of the team we had built. That we had not been together much as some had not been called up [to the senior team] before. Yet, it felt as though we had all been together for many years.

"He said that we had all rowed in the same direction from the first day. That he was very proud of the youngsters for their commitment to this jersey and if they were there and gave what they gave at the Copa America, it was because they more than deserved to be there.

"Once he finished, everyone was in tears because it touched everyone's hearts, especially the youngsters."

Messi has been unable to replicate his Barcelona form on the international stage with Argentina, and critics have accused him of lacking the passion required to skipper the side.

But Paris Saint-Germain attacker Di Maria claimed he has seen a different side to Messi this year.

"There was a lot of criticism that he didn't sing [the national anthem], that he didn't talk," Di Maria said.

"This Copa America was different. He proved it. What made me happier was to see how he spoke in front of the group, how he spoke to reporters, what he said. The important thing is that Leo is like this. I like this Messi."

Eddie Jones believes England's scrum can be a "real weapon" in their Rugby World Cup clash with Argentina in Tokyo on Saturday.

England sit top of Pool C after two bonus-point victories from as many outings, but the meeting with Los Pumas represents their toughest challenge so far.

Argentina need a victory to boost their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals after slipping to a 23-21 loss to France in their opening match in Japan.

However, Mario Ledesma has decided to leave out fly-half Nicolas Sanchez and keep captain Agustin Creevy – one cap away from breaking Argentina's appearance record – among the replacements.

Pablo Matera will captain the team as Julian Montoya retains his place at hooker after scoring a first-half hat-trick in the 28-12 triumph over Tonga last time out, and Jones thinks Los Pumas may struggle to cope with England's strength in the pack.

"[The scrum] is part of the Argentinian rugby culture so sometimes, like anything in life, you can have dormant periods. But particularly when it's part of your rugby, it's quite easy to reignite and [Ledesma has] done that well," said Jones.

"It's going to be a massive test on Saturday. They haven't scrummed against us yet and we believe our scrum can be a real weapon for us - so hold on to your seats.

"They're an interesting team. A strong team. We know Argentina are at their best at World Cups. Creevy spoke about a few things this week. One of which was how tight they are as a team. And they're a pretty good team if they can get Creevy to come off the bench."

England's front-row options have been boosted by Mako Vunipola's return from a hamstring injury, though the Saracens prop was only named on the bench.

While Ledesma's selection has raised questions, the Argentina coach has no doubt he has picked the right players for a match he made no effort to downplay the importance of.

"In any team, you play because of what you contribute. Thinking about the team and nothing more than the team, we believe these are the best [players] to beat England," said Ledesma.

"We talked to [Sanchez] before we announced the team and it was very hard, but we all know the most important thing is the team and that everyone should contribute.

"It is one of the most important games in the history of this team, but in particular for this group. Los Pumas have had many of these battles and the boys have the opportunity to write their own story."
 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

England – Manu Tuilagi

The Leicester Tigers centre has struggled with injuries but made his mark in the opening game against Tonga with a pair of tries. He will be keen to add more after sitting out the victory over the United States.

Argentina – Benjamin Urdapilleta

With Sanchez left out of the matchday squad entirely, the pressure to perform at fly-half falls to Urdapilleta. He was pivotal to Castres' Top 14 success in 2018 and, with the inexperienced Lucas Mensa the next option on the bench, he must rise to the occasion.


KEY OPTA FACTS

- England have won each of their past nine Tests against Argentina, with their most recent defeat against Los Pumas coming in Salta in June 2009 while the British and Irish Lions were touring South Africa.
- Argentina's win against Tonga in their previous match ended a run of 10 consecutive defeats in Tests, their worst losing run.
- Creevy is set to make his 88th appearance for Argentina, overtaking Felipe Contepomi (87) as his country's most-capped player.
- England have scored 21 tries and conceded just one in their past three World Cup matches, scoring four or more tries in three consecutive games for the first time in the competition.
- Ben Youngs will move third on the list of all-time Test appearances for England with his 92nd cap. Dan Cole will join him if he enters the game as a replacement.

Nicolas Sanchez has been dropped for Argentina's Rugby World Cup showdown with England on Saturday, while former captain Agustin Creevy is only on the bench.

Fly-half Sanchez, the leading points-scorer at the 2015 World Cup, was surprisingly overlooked by Mario Ledesma for a huge encounter against the Pool C leaders at Tokyo Stadium.

Benjamin Urdapilleta keeps his place at number 10, while hooker Julian Montoya - on a high after scoring a hat-trick against Tonga - retains his spot at the expense of Creevy, who will be hoping to earn a Pumas-record 88th cap off the bench.

Javier Ortega Desio comes back into the side at number eight for what Creevy says will be a "war".

Argentina got up and running with a win over Tonga after making a losing start against France and sit third in Pool C behind England and Les Bleus.

 

Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli, Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Santiago Carreras, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Tomas Cubelli; Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Julian Montoya, Juan Figallo, Guido Petti Pagadizabal, Tomas Lavanini, Pablo Matera (captain), Marcos Kremer, Javier Ortega Desio.

Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Mayco Vivas, Santiago Medrano, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lezana, Felipe Ezcurra, Lucas Mensa, Bautista Delguy.

Mako Vunipola and Jack Nowell are set to make their first appearances at the Rugby World Cup after being named among the England replacements to face Argentina on Saturday.

Prop Vunipola and wing Nowell have recovered from hamstring and ankle injuries respectively to take their place in the matchday squad for the clash with the Pumas at Tokyo Stadium.

Owen Farrell returns to captain the side at inside centre, with Manu Tuilagi back at outside centre and fly-half George Ford keeping his spot after impressive showings against Tonga and the United States.

Eddie Jones makes just one alteration to the starting line-up for England's opening match of the tournament versus Tonga, with lock George Kruis preferred to Courtney Lawes.

Ben Youngs will become his country's third most capped player when he makes a 92nd appearance for England, who are a point clear of France at the top of Pool C.

Jones said: "We are in Tokyo for the first time and the players are excited to be here and have had a good week's preparation so far. We know Argentina are a very good team and our players will be ready for the game.  

"Argentina is a completely different team from others we have played so far in the pool stages and are always about the physical contest.

"This week it's about getting our game right, our set-piece in a good place and making sure defensively we are organised and ready to find ways to score points against them."

 

England team: Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell.

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