Another key player down and out in Brazil.
Two wins away from the goal of winning the 2014 World Cup, one of the tournament’s favourites takes a major blow after Argentinean Angel Di Maria strained his right thigh in their 1-0 victory over Belgium in the quarterfinals. The winger’s status in the semifinals against the Netherlands is now downgraded to doubtful after recent tests on Sunday.
“The severity of the tear became clearer over the course of evening with media in Argentina reporting the Real Madrid player, who had scored the team’s late winner against Switzerland in the round of 16, was now resigned to missing the remainder of the finals,” reported The Guardian on Sunday night.
Argentina star Lionel Messi is the unquestioned leader of the squad but Di Maria is considered of the vital cogs for Argentina in this tournament.
La Albiceleste was still hopeful that Di Maria could make a successful comeback in time for Wednesday, July 9, when they face Holland.
"He's a key player in this project," said teammate Gonzalo Higuain via USA Today early Sunday. "We hope that he will be ready as soon as possible because we know what he does for the team."
Higuain knows as much as his winning goal against Belgium came off Di Maria’s assist. The Real Madrid FC midfielder also scored the game-winner in their 1-0 win over Switzerland in the Round of 16.
The 26-year-old was treated on the field and actually attempted to remain the QF game but was eventually replaced by Enzo Perez.
The bad news for Argentina continues as it appears he not only missed much of the Belgium game but will also sit out the remainder of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.