FIFA World Cup: Lanzini injury blow for Argentina

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Barcelona, June 8 (IANS) Argentina’s preparations for FIFA World Cup suffered a blow as attacking midfielder Manuel Lanzini was ruled out of the 32-nation football tournament after suffering a suspected serious knee injury during training on Friday.

“Manuel Lanzini suffered, in today’s morning training, the rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee,” read a statement on Argentina’s national team’s Twitter handle.

According to media reports, the West Ham United player will be out of action for around six months, dealing a big blow to Jorge Sampaoli-coached Argentina’s preparations for the tournament, beginning in Russia from June 14.

Lanzini featured regularly in the warm-up matches and was considered an integral part of Argentina’s midfield.

Now, Sampaoli will now be forced into a tactical re-think. The coach is expected to name a replacement soon. Among the names expected to be called up are Diego Perotti, Enzo Perez and Leandro Paredes.

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Meanwhile, defender Nicolas Otamendi, forward Paulo Dybala and midfielder Javier Mascherano sent words of consolation and encouragement to 25-year-old Lanzini, who might require a surgery.

“A lot of strength @manulanzini there are no words that comfort this moment, but football is going to give you rematch,” Otamendi wrote on Twitter.

–IANS

pur/vd

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