FIFA Men's World Cup
Ángel Di María's status unclear for Argentina's quarterfinal
FIFA Men's World Cup

Ángel Di María's status unclear for Argentina's quarterfinal

Updated Dec. 8, 2022 7:17 p.m. ET

AL RAYYAN, Qatar – Ángel Di María’s availability for Argentina in Friday’s marquee World Cup quarterfinal against the Netherlands remains a mystery, thanks to Albiceleste coach Lionel Scaloni.

In a combative Thursday news conference ahead of the matchup between the two global powers at Lusail Iconic Stadium (2 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App), the 44-year-old manager sparred with reporters and refused to say if veteran forward Di María, who missed Argentina’s victory over Australia in the round of 16 last week, would be able to play against the three-time World Cup runner-up.

Argentina's Angel Di Maria took part in a training session at Qatar University in Doha on Thursday, the eve of the World Cup quarterfinal against the Netherlands. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images)

"In principle, they're feeling good, and we will see in today's training and come up with a lineup," Scaloni said of Di María and midfielder Rodrigo De Paul.

Not having Di María would be a major setback. The 34-year-old, who scored the winning goal over Brazil in the 2021 Copa America final that gave captain Lionel Messi his first trophy for his country, remains a key player for the Albiceleste despite closing in on his 35th birthday early next year. The former Real MadridManchester UnitedParis Saint-Germain and current Juventus attacker has played 127 times for Argentina, scoring 27 goals.


Di María was injured and unable to feature the last time Argentina and the Netherlands met in the knockout stage of the World Cup, in the semifinals at Brazil 2014. Argentina won anyway, on penalties after a scoreless 120 minutes, before losing to Germany in the championship match.

If Di María isn't healthy enough to go Friday he would miss out on a reunion with Dutch coach Louis van Gaal. Di María spent the 2014-15 season playing under Van Gaal in Manchester. After he left, he called Van Gaal, one of the most successful coaches of the last 30 years, "the worst of my career."

"I don't like it that he said it," Van Gaal, who also coached the Oranje in 2014, admitted at his own news conference earlier Thursday. "That's just the way it is. A head coach needs to make decisions, and they don't always end well."

He surely won't be unhappy if Di María, who Van Gaal called "a really good football player," can't line up against his team.

Argentina and the Netherlands have met five previous times at the World Cup, four of them in the knockout stage. Two-time champion Argentina won their first title by beating the Dutch on home soil in the 1978 final, a 3-1 victory in extra time.


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