Argentina squad for Germany friendly

BUENOS AIRES - Inter Milan defender Walter Samuel could win his first Argentina cap since 2006 after being called up on Tuesday for their World Cup warm-up against Germany next month.

Samuel was named for only the second time in coach Diego Maradona's squad for Argentina's last scheduled friendly before the World Cup in South Africa starting on June 11.

The 31-year-old was called up last March for World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela and Bolivia but did not play.

Maradona, who named a 20-man squad for the friendly in Munich on March 3, said he has settled on half of the 23 players he will take to South Africa.

"Fifty percent of the players who will be at the World Cup, I've already told them," Maradona told reporters as he left the Argentine Football Association's training facility on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

"For many this is the definitive test because there is no more time," he added.

All but three players in the squad are from European clubs. The three home-based players are Juan Sebastian Veron and right-back Clemente Rodriguez of South American champions Estudiantes and Velez Sarsfield defender Nicolas Otamendi.

Samuel has missed his country's last three major tournaments, the 2006 finals in Germany and the Copa America in 2004 and 2007.

After winning his 53rd and last cap in a Sept. 2006 friendly against Brazil in London, he did not play in any of the 18-match South American qualifying games for this year's World Cup.

Samuel's former Inter defensive partner Nicolas Burdisso, now with AS Roma, has been recalled. He was dropped by Maradona after a friendly away to Russia last August.

Inter's Diego Milito, who last played as a substitute in the 3-1 home defeat by Brazil in September, is recalled among several forwards who have been prolific scorers at club level this season like Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez.


Goalkeepers: Mariano Andujar (Catania), Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar)

Defenders: Gabriel Heinze (Olympique Marseille), Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich), Nicolas Otamendi (Velez Sarsfield), Walter Samuel (Inter Milan), Clemente Rodriguez (Estudiantes de La Plata), Nicolas Burdisso (AS Roma)

Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool), Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes), Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United), Angel Di Maria (Benfica), Mario Bolatti (Fiorentina), Javier Pastore (Palermo), Jesus Datolo (Olympiakos)

Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City), Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid), Diego Milito (Inter Milan)