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Soccer-Argentina squad offers few surprises for Aguero

Reuters

By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE, May 16 (Reuters) - Defender Martin Demichelis fully deserves his recall to the Argentina squad while Carlos Tevez was never going to make it after failing to patch up his differences with coach Alejandro Sabella, forward Sergio Aguero told Reuters in an interview.

Despite some sparkling form for Italian champions Juventus, Tevez has never been part of Sabella's plans and was again overlooked when the coach named his provisional 30-man squad for the June 12-July 13 tournament in Brazil on Tuesday.

Manchester City striker Aguero, who is expected to line up alongside Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain in a formidable front line for Argentina, believed a recall was never going to happen.

"This has been discussed for three years now since the manager was hired for the team and since then we know there was no relationship between them both," the 25-year-old Aguero said in Singapore on Friday.

"He didn't call him before so it wasn't such a surprise that he wasn't called this time as well. It would be a very good question for the manager himself to comment," he added, trying to avoid the talking point.

Instead, the pony-tailed Demichelis, so frequently mocked by rival English Premier League supporters following some early mistakes upon his arrival at Manchester City at the start of the season, was the surprise inclusion.

The former River Plate and Bayern Munich defender last played for Argentina in a 1-1 home draw against Bolivia in a qualifier in November 2011 but has shown strong form in recent weeks as City went on to win the Premier League title on Sunday.

While Aguero is a certain starter for the Group F matches against Bosnia, Iran and Nigeria, the 33-year-old Demichelis will be hoping just to make the slimmed down 23-man travelling party, although he had support for his cause.

"It was no surprise that he was called for playing in this World Cup, I think he has earned his position," Aguero said of his team mate.

"He had been criticised, in particular because of the play against Lionel Messi in the (Champions League) match against Barcelona but it is understandable, he wasn't so confident then after starting to play in the English league.

"In the last three or four months, he has been playing very well and adapted and I think that is why he was called up and earned his place in the team."

SHOCK LOSS

Tevez, Aguero and Demichelis all played in the last World Cup when Argentina crashed out in the quarter-finals after a 4-0 mauling by Germany ended their bid to add to their 1978 and 1986 successes.

Aguero expected Germany to once again prove strong challengers along with holders Spain, hosts Brazil, Italy and Belgium, captained by another City team mate, Vincent Kompany.

He scoffed at the suggestion they had been dealt an easy group, was pleased to avoid the favourites and acknowledged the need to avoid complacency when asked if Argentina's shock loss to Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup was still discussed.

"Of course we are in a really good group, perhaps not with one of the difficult opponents, but no game is easy and its very important to keep doing our own good game and keep qualifying for the next round," the former Atletico Madrid striker said.

"Every country can win, Cameroon or Bosnia with us in the group. For Argentina, every match is very important so each game is as if we are in the finals already and we want to just go for it."

Many have tipped Argentina to make it to the final and face old rivals Brazil in the showpiece decider for the first time.

Aguero, who scored 28 goals in all competitions for City this term despite a couple of muscle injuries, said there was little added incentive in playing the tournament in Brazil for the players but acknowledged the importance for the fans.

"Considering the rivalry... the Argentinean fans will be much more excited and it will be extra points for them to be able to say 'yeah, we won in their field' but from the footballers perspective it will be basically the same," he said.

"As long as we are able to win the World Cup, winning it anywhere, in Brazil, in Singapore, wherever, it would be the best thing ever." (Editing by John O'Brien)

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