BUENOS AIRES - Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain was again overlooked by Argentina coach Diego Maradona on Friday despite scoring 20 goals this season in Primera Liga. Higuain, who has not been given an opportunity since Maradona took charge last October, was missing from the 26-man squad named for next month's World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Ecuador. Argentina host Colombia on June 6 in Buenos Aires and visit Ecuador four days later at high altitude in Quito. Maradona, who was not available to comment on his selections, retained the base of the side which was thrashed 6-1 by Bolivia at high altitude in April. Quito is also at high altitude and Maradona is expected to field an alternative team for that match. Argentina are fourth in the 10-team South American group with 19 points from 12 games, only two ahead of fifth-placed Uruguay. Only the top four teams qualify directly for the World Cup in South Africa. The fifth plays off against a team from CONCACAF for another place. Argentina, who beat Panama 3-1 in a friendly on Wednesday when they fielded only home-based players, have a difficult run-in with visits to Paraguay and Uruguay and a home game against Brazil still to come. Squad: Goalkeepers: Juan Pablo Carrizo (Lazio), Mariano Andujar (Estudiantes), Federico Vilar (Atlante) Defenders: Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich), Emiliano Papa (Velez Sarsfield), Gabriel Heinze (Real Madrid), Marcos Angeleri (Estudiantes), Javier Zanetti (Inter Milan), Daniel Diaz (Getafe), Nicolas Burdisso (Inter Milan), Nicolas Otamendi (Velez Sarsfield), Juan Forlin (Boca Juniors) Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool), Fernando Gago (Real Madrid), Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes), Maximiliano Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid), Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United), Sebastian Battaglia (Boca Juniors), Cristian Gimenez (Pachuca), Daniel Montenegro (Independiente) Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Carlos Tevez (Manchester United), Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid), Lisandro Lopez (Porto), Diego Milito (Genoa), Gonzalo Bergessio (San Lorenzo).
23 May 2009
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