Soccer-Argentina schedule first home friendlies after World Cup triumph

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Argentine Super Cup - Boca Juniors v Racing Club - Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates - January 20, 2023 Racing Club players take a selfie as they celebrate winning the Argentine Super Cup REUTERS/Rula Rouhana

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina will play their first matches since lifting the World Cup in December with friendlies later this month against Panama and Curacao, the country's soccer federation said on Thursday.

"Lionel Scaloni's team will play on March 23 at the Monumental stadium and on March 28 at the Madre de Ciudades in Santiago del Estero," the Argentine FA (AFA) said on Twitter.

It will be the first time Argentina have played in front of their home fans since beating France in a penalty shootout to win the World Cup in Qatar after a 36-year wait to claim the trophy, sparking massive celebrations all over the country.

According to local media reports, captain Lionel Messi and the rest of the world champions are expected to be in the squad.

The announcement comes three days after the AFA said coach Lionel Scaloni had renewed his contract until 2026. He will name his squad for the two friendlies this weekend.

(Report by Ramiro Scandolo; Writing by Janina Nuno Rios; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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