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Rodrigo De Paul trains separately and could miss Netherlands game

Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodrigo De Paul trained separately from the Argentina squad today.

De Paul is a doubt for the World Cup quarter-final tie against the Netherlands on Friday, according to ESPN Argentina.

The Argentine team is sweating over De Paul, a crucial member of head coach Lionel Scaloni’s first XI. De Paul has a muscle injury and will undergo tests in the coming hours.

The discomfort in his hamstring started yesterday in training. It forced him to train on the sidelines alongside Papu Gomez, who is still dealing with an ankle problem.

The former Udinese man is vital for Argentina in midfield. If he is out of the game, the team will miss him at the Lusail Stadium.

After struggling against Saudi Arabia and Mexico in the group stage, De Paul bounced back with consecutive excellent performances.

He was superb against Poland and helped Argentina secure the top spot in their group before following it with another quality showing against Australia.

He gives Argentina thrust and energy in the centre of the park alongside Enzo Fernandez and Alexis Mac Allister. De Paul is purposeful with the ball and tenacious off it.

If De Paul is unavailable, Scaloni will reportedly start Leandro Paredes. The coach chose a midfield of Fernandez, Mac Allister and Paredes in training today.

However, in more positive news for Argentina, Juventus attacker Angel Di Maria has returned to training. The former Paris Saint-Germain winger missed the round of 16 match against Australia.

Argentina play a Dutch side that isn’t fanciful, but they get the job done. The squad is a reflection of their head coach Louis Van Gaal.

Argentina will be wary of PSV Eindhoven attacker Cody Gakpo. He is one of the top scorers in the tournament. The 23-year-old was in fine form leading to the World Cup, and he has brought that form to the world stage.

The South Americans will also be wary of Memphis Depay. His back-to-goal play is phenomenal, and he uses it expertly to bring his teammates into play.

Depay is an adept creator and finisher. He is closing in as the country’s top goalscorer of all time, and Argentina will need to keep an eye on him.

The game on Friday promises an enthralling affair with interesting tactical battles all over the pitch.

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