Buenos Aires: Goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman was called into Argentina’s World Cup squad as a replacement for Sergio Romero after the Manchester United player was cut from the team with a knee injury, the country’s football federation (AFA) said.
Guzman, who plays for Mexican side Tigres, joins Chelsea’s Willy Caballero and uncapped River Plate stopper Franco Armani in Argentina’s 23-man squad for Russia.
The United goalkeeper injured his right knee during training in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.
“Romero will be removed from the list of 23 players who will participate in the 2018 World Cup in Russia,” the AFA said in a statement.
Romero, 31, is the most capped goalkeeper in the history of the Argentina national team with 83 appearances and represented the country at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
Coach Jorge Sampaoli took just minutes to decide on Guzman after Romero’s exclusion was announced.
Romero, who was widely expected to be Argentina’s first-choice keeper, will need surgery on his right knee, the AFA said.
The loss of the experienced Romero is a serious blow to a country that has struggled defensively in recent friendlies, losing 4-2 to Nigeria and 6-1 to Spain.
Guzman, the 32-year old former Newell’s Old Boys keeper, has won three league titles in three years with the Tigres and been capped six times for the national side but just once since 2015, in last summer’s 6-0 friendly win over Singapore.
He will form part of the squad for Argentina’s farewell friendly against Haiti at Boca Juniors’ ground on May 29.
The twice world champions and runners-up four years ago in Brazil also play Israel on June 9 before heading to Russia where they have been drawn in Group D with Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria.