Lionel Messi was reportedly absent from a team practice session but Argentina was boosted by the return of key players to training ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final.
Messi is still dealing with discomfort in his hamstring, a problem he suffered during his side’s 3-0 semifinal win over Croatia. Him missing the training session is more than likely a precautionary measure given the short time between the two games.
Argentina, however, got some good news as Angel Di Maria returned to training while defenders Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna are also back after serving their suspensions.
Both missed the semi-final as they were suspended after accumulating two yellow cards.
The left-back Acuna has been a critical part of coach Lionel Scaloni’s set-up during the tournament, playing in all of their previous five games and starting four times.
He was arguably one of Argentina’s best players against the Netherlands, winning nine of his 13 duels, completing 100% of his dribbles and earning the penalty from which Lionel Messi scored their second goal.
He will likely have to deal with Ousmane Dembele in the final.
Angel Di Maria’s return is also crucial for the 2014 runner-ups as he takes the burden off of Messi in creating chances for his side.
He has been recovering from a thigh injury suffered against Poland in the group stage but is expected to be fit for Sunday’s final. The 34-year-old scored the only goal in last year’s Copa America final against Brazil that earned his side its first major title in 28 years.
He and Messi are the only two Argentina players who were also in the squad that lost the 2014 World Cup final against Germany in Brazil. Di Maria missed that final due to an injury.