It is hard to believe that Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella would exclude fan favorite Carlos Tevez, the leading scorer in Italy’s Serie A, from the World Cup team. But it looks like that is what he is going to do, and fans are so angry they are going to social media and the streets.
On Friday, they held a protest march in Buenos Aires, demanding that their beloved “Carlitos” get a spot on the squad.
Tevez is the leading scorer for first-place Juventus this season with 18 goals, and is tied for the league lead. He previously played at Manchester United and Manchester City, and has always been popular with fans because of his humble beginnings and his tough style of play. He is actually favored by many fans over Lionel Messi, who is seen as a golden boy who left for Spain at a young age.
But Tevez fell out of favor with Sabella, and has not played for the national team since the 2011 Copa America.
“I’ve got confidence in the strikers that I have. They are all stars at the highest level,” Sabella said after Argentina's 0-0 tie in a friendly on March 5 against Romania.
It is hard to argue that the Argentina roster is already loaded with Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Angel DiMaria. But Tevez is a world-class player who deserves a shot to make his nation’s World Cup team.
Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta is disappointed Tevez is being left out.
“Clearly Tevez is a man and therefore aspires to wear the jersey of his country, especially at a World Cup,” Marotta told Sky Sport Italia. “He deserves it for his talents, but the coach makes his decisions. I think it is down to non-football situations we don’t know. As a professional, Tevez accepts this decision with disappointment, but understanding, realizing he can gain satisfaction elsewhere in his career.”
• WAGS uninvited to Miami: The wives and girlfriends of the English national team (better known as WAGS) were originally invited to travel to Miami in June with the World Cup team for a one-week training camp before heading to Brazil.
But manager Roy Hodgson changed his mind.
The team is scheduled to arrive in Miami on June 1, play friendlies June 4 against Ecuador and June 7 against Honduras at Sun Life Stadium, and then go on to Brazil.
Hodgson said the family members are welcome to visit Miami for the tune-up games, but they will have to make their own arrangements. Same goes for the World Cup in Brazil.
At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the WAGS (who included Victoria Beckham) were paparazzi favorites as they hung around team headquarters.
Four years later, in South Africa, manager Fabio Capello took the opposite approach, sequestering the team in a remote location.
• Colombia is No. 4: Colombia moved up to No. 4 in the FIFA World Rankings, making it the highest-ranked South American team with nine weeks to go until the World Cup.
Defending World Cup champion Spain remains No. 1, followed by Germany and Portugal, both of which the United States will face at the World Cup. The United States is ranked No. 13.
Rounding out the top 10: 5. Uruguay; 6. (tie) Brazil, Argentina; 8. Switzerland; 9. Italy; 10. Greece.
• Copa America 2016: There have been talks of a 100th anniversary Copa America in the United States, but U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said there is nothing official yet. The United States, Mexico, and four CONCACAF teams would join the 10 South American teams in the tournament. Cities that have been named as possible sites include Houston, Orlando, Washington, Palo Alto, Calif., East Rutherford, N.J., and Pasadena, Calif. Uruguay won in 2011 and the 2015 tournament is in Chile.
• Miami United opener: Miami United FC, an NPSL team that plays in the Sunshine Conference, opens its 2014 season May 2 on the road against the Cape Coral Hurricanes. Their first home game is May 4 against the Tampa Mauraders at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah.