Argentina face Italy at the Etihad Stadium for the first round of International friendlies.
Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup this summer, and so their national team rebuild will start in Manchester on Friday night.
Meanwhile Argentina, the 2014 World Cup runners up, will be one of the favourites to win the competition in Russia. This summer could be the final throw of the dice for Lionel Messi, who is yet to win a major competition with his country. Argentina last won the competition in 1986, but will be hoping to win their third title this summer.
Despite being considered two of the heavyweights of international football, Italy and Argentina have not met in a World Cup since 1990. The hosts faced Argentina in that year's semi finals, where only penalties could separate the two sides.
Salvatore Schillaci opened the scoring at the Stadio San Paulo to put the Italians ahead in the first half. Schillaci would go on to win the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball that year. Claudio Caniggia equalised for Argentina midway through the second half, which was the first goal Italy had conceded in the whole tournament.
The game went into extra time where Ricardo Guisti was sent off for Argentina for a second yellow card. Argentina would go through on penalties, winning the shoot-out 4-3.
Italy beat England 2-1 in the third place play-off, while Argentina would lose the final to West Germany.
Leonardo Bonucci vs Lionel Messi
Who will dare to try and stop Lionel Messi from winning the ultimate prize this summer? An international competition is the only thing that has eluded Messi during his illustrious career, and it's the only question mark against his stake as being the greatest player of all time.
The qualification campaign showed us that Messi is capable of heroics for his country has his goals saved Argentina from a similar embarrassment the Italians are currently suffering.
Argentina's World Cup victory bid starts here. Victories against Italy and Spain in their friendlies will send a message to the competition that t
[SELECCIÓN MAYOR] Con estos jugadores del fútbol local, Jorge Sampaoli completó la lista de convocados para los partidos ante Italia y España. pic.twitter.com/YVHflTxDji— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) March 12, 2018
#Azzurri — Italy (@azzurri) March 17, 2018
Luigi #DiBiagio has named his squad for the friendlies against #Argentina in #Manchester, 23/03 ko 20:45 CET; and #England gbeng in #London, 27/03 ko 21:00 CET#ArgentinaItaly #EnglandItaly #VivoAzzurro pic.twitter.com/IKUzE5lxzE
Manager Jorge Sampaoli has also decided to include five players from Argentina's domestic league.
Argentina did not have the strongest qualifying campaign either. T