Will injured Angel Di Maria and Javier Pastore play for Argentina against the USMNT?
Angel Di Maria has recovered from the adductor injury he suffered earlier in Copa America Centenario, but Argentina have not yet decided whether he will play when La Albiceleste take on the United States in the semifinals (Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET, FS1).
Di Maria was injured in Argentina’s 5-0 win over Panama in the group stage. He has not played in a match since, although he resumed light training last week and has been ramping up the intensity since.
Argentina manager Gerardo Martino told reporters on Monday that Di Maria is fit now and medically is cleared to play — but he did not say that Di Maria will play against the U.S.
It sounds like Di Maria is not yet capable of starting a match, so it would be a surprise if he’s in the team from the beginning on Tuesday, but he could be on the bench and available as a substitute. That would be a major asset for Martino, who already has a dizzying array of attacking talent available to him, but none are as well-rounded and versatile as Di Maria. Adding him to the crop would only make Argentina, who are already the best team at Copa America, even better.
Like Di Maria, Javier Pastore has been battling injury, but Martino indicated that he would also be available off the bench.
With Lionel Messi back to full fitness, he looks like a lock for one starting spot in Argentina’s front three, and Gonzalo Higuain appears set for another spot. Nicolas Gaitan is suspended for the semifinal due to yellow card accumulation, opening the final place, which Ezequiel Lavezzi will probably get. But Lavezzi isn’t ideal, so having Di Maria available gives Martino an early substitute option if he needs it and the same is true of Pastore.
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