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Injury worries mount for Argentina ahead of Netherlands showdown

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Doha, Dec 8 (IANS) Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni said Thursday he could not guarantee the availability of midfielders Rodrigo De Paul and Angel Di Maria for his team’s World Cup quarterfinal against the Netherlands.

De Paul is in doubt with a right hamstring strain while Di Maria is recovering from a quadriceps problem that forced him to miss the Albiceleste’s 2-1 victory over Australia in the round of 16, reports Xinhua news agency.

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“In principle, De Paul and Di Maria are fine,” Scaloni told a news conference ahead of Friday’s match in Lusail.

“I can’t say if they are going to play or not. It’s strange that (journalists) know that something is happening because yesterday’s training was behind closed doors. I don’t know where this information comes from.”

Di Maria was replaced by Papu Gomez against Australia and will likely start against the Dutch should the Juventus winger not recover in time.

De Paul’s absence could pave the way for the return of Leandro Paredes or Guido Rodriguez to Argentina’s starting lineup.

“Today we have the last training session and we will see how everyone is,” Scaloni said. “We will make the decision based on how we want to plan the game and those who are fit to play will play,” he added.

Di Maria and De Paul are not Scaloni’s only injury concerns. Earlier on Thursday, it was revealed that Lautaro Martinez was taking painkilling injections to allow him to play at the World Cup.

According to Alejandro Camacho, the Inter Milan striker, who has yet to score in the tournament, is battling an ankle problem.

–IANS

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