AND could be without captain Robin van Persie for today’s World Cup semi-final against Argentina, coach Louis van Gaal revealed last night.
Van Gaal reported that striker Van Persie was a major doubt with “a stomach problem” and had trained apart from the rest of the squad on the eve of the clash in Sao Paulo. The Manchester United player has scored three goals already at the tournament and formed a dangerous attacking double act with Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben.
“He has a stomach problem, an intestinal problem. I don’t know [if he will play],” Van Gaal said. “I will decide. Van Persie is our captain so he is very important to us. In principle my captain always plays, but he has to be fit.”
In better news for the Dutch, midfielder Nigel de Jong, who looked to have played his last game at the tournament when injured against Mexico in the group stage, is in contention for a shock comeback. “If his reaction is good and he can play, the miracle can come true,” Van Gaal said.
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella is boosted by the return of Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, who has recovered from a muscle injury, though that is tempered by the absence of Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria.