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Caballero makes Argentina cut, set for starting role at World Cup

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G’wan, Big Willy!

Italy v Argentina - International Friendly Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Argentina, managed by two-time Copa América winner, Jorge Sampaoli, are not quite a vintage edition of themselves these days, but despite unexpected struggles in qualifying, which saw Sampaoli come in to triage the situation just twelve months ago, they will be there in Russia starting next month.

On Monday, they announced their final squad (cutting a dozen from their provisional squad), which is predictably top-heavy in fantastic attacking talent (so much so that Icardi, for example, misses out), but is perhaps lacking elsewhere.

Among those who made the cut from 35 to 23 was Chelsea backup goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero.

Caballero, who hadn’t had a single cap as of just a few months ago, then learned that ostensibly first-choice Sergio Romero picked a knee injury, which means that the 36-year-old Chelsea veteran is now likely in line for the starting job at the World Cup.

Not bad for a man with two caps to his name, which actually make up a full quarter of Argentina’s experience at the position, with Nahuel Guzmán adding 6 and Franco Armani adding 0. All three goalkeepers are over 30, which makes the shockingly low number of international caps between them quite funny.

Caballero had an impressive outing in his debut against Italy in March, but he followed that up with a not-so-great performance against Spain. So perhaps a cause for concern for Sampaoli. Big Willy was decent enough to be the backup at Chelsea, and is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to saving penalty kicks, but surely the Albiceleste would prefer a bit more experience at the big summer showpiece.

Then again, just pass the ball to Messi and don’t let in any at the other end, and you’ve got a recipe for success!

Good luck, Big Willy!

P.S.: Don’t get injured please.