Football

Di Maria out, Aguero in

Angel Di Maria has been ruled out of Argentina's semi-final against the Netherlands but fellow forward Sergio Aguero has recovered from a muscle strain and is fit to play, the team doctor said on Sunday.

Aguero looked comfortable in training at the Argentine camp, but Di Maria was missing and undergoing intensive treatment after hobbling out of their 1-0 quarter-final win over Belgium.

In their first semi-final since 1990, the South Americans play Holland in Sao Paulo on Thursday morning (Singapore time).

"Angel has a Grade 1 injury. Of course he won't play in Argentina's next game.

"After that, we'll evaluate the situation day-by-day," team doctor Daniel Martinez said.

"Sergio has practiced three times. He's ready to play."

Aguero missed two games due to a muscle strain but on the evidence of Sunday's afternoon training session at their camp in Belo Horizonte, the speedy forward should at least make the substitutes bench.

The absence of Di Maria, the South Americans' most creative player after captain Lionel Messi, will be a big blow but the return to form of Gonzalo Higuain lessens the impact.

World Cup