FIFA World Cup: Lanzini injury blow for Argentina

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.

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.

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