Pekerman also selected Valencia playmaker Pablo Aimar, who recently suffered an ankle sprain followed by a bout of viral meningitis, and forward Javier Saviola, who has re-discovered his best form with Sevilla this season after two years of uncertainty.
Teenager Oscar Ustari, 19, was included as the third-choice goalkeeper but there was no place for his club mate, 17-year-old forward Sergio Aguero, regarded as one of Argentina's most exciting prospects.
Argentina, who fell at the first hurdle four years ago, face Ivory Coast, Netherlands and Serbia & Montenegro in their first round group.
Goalkeepers: Roberto Abbondanzieri (Boca Juniors), Leonardo Franco (Atletico Madrid), Oscar Ustari (Independiente)
Defenders: Fabricio Coloccini (Deportivo Coruna), Roberto Ayala (Valencia), Gabriel Heinze (Manchester United), Juan Pablo Sorin (Villarreal), Gabriel Milito (Real Zaragoza), Nicolas Burdisso (Inter Milan), Leandro Cufre (AS Roma)
Midfielders: Lionel Scaloni (West Ham United), Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan), Javier Mascherano (Corinthians), Luis Gonzalez (Porto), Pablo Aimar (Valencia), Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal), Maximiliano Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards: Carlos Tevez (Corinthians), Hernan Crespo (Chelsea), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Rodrigo Palacio (Boca Juniors), Javier Saviola (Sevilla), Julio Cruz (Inter Milan)
Croatia stun Argentina