Argentina celebrated with tears of joy after reaching the semifinals of the World Cup for the first time since 1990, but the news following the game put a damper on the celebrations. That’s because multiple reports indicate that star winger Angel Di Maria has been ruled out for the rest of the World Cup.
Di Maria came up lame early in Argentina’s 1-0 quarterfinal win against Belgium, but attempted to get back on the field. However he couldn’t overcome an apparent leg injury and was subbed off in the 33rd minute. Reports indicated that Di Maria suffered a tear in his right thigh.
It’s another huge blow to a team that has relied on attacking soccer to pressure opponents, and with Di Maria out that takes a massive hit. Manager Alejandro Sabella made it very clear that having Di Maria was “vital to us,” before he knew the extent of his injury—something his teammates also reiterated.
“He’s a key player in this project,” striker Gonzalo Higuain, who scored against Belgium, said via Yahoo! Sports. “I’m really sorry. But we hope that he will be ready as soon as possible because we know what he does for the team.”
Di Maria’s injury, coupled with questions about Sergio Aguero’s hamstring put two-thirds of the Argentinian attack in question ahead of a semifinal matchup with the Netherlands. After all, we are talking about the lone goal-scorer in Argentina’s round of 16 victory over Switzerland.
The replacement for Di Maria, Enzo Perez, was wholly invisible during his appearance against Belgium and that won’t work come the semifinal on Wednesday. Argentina will have to find someone to complement Messi up top or it could be a struggle to beat the Dutch.