• World Cup

Van Persie a doubt for Argentina clash

ESPN staff
July 8, 2014
The ESPN FC team discuss the Netherlands' hopes of containing Lionel Messi

Robin van Persie may miss Wednesday's World Cup semi-final against Argentina after the Netherlands captain came down with an upset stomach.

Van Persie, who has looked off the pace during his side's two knockout-stage matches so far, trained away from the main group of players on Tuesday along with defender Daryl Janmaat.

And Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal confirmed on the eve of the last-four clash in Sao Paulo that the striker, who has scored three goals in Brazil, is a serious doubt.

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"He has a stomach problem, an intestinal problem. I don't know [if he will play],'' Van Gaal told his pre-match news conference. "I will decide [on Wednesday].

"Van Persie is our captain so he is very important to us. In principle my captain always plays, but he has to be fit.''

There was better news for midfielder Nigel de Jong, meanwhile, who went through his paces along with the rest of the team in training in a bid to regain his place in Van Gaal's starting XI.

It was not clear on Tuesday, however, whether De Jong is fit to play against Argentina.

De Jong injured his groin early in the second-round victory over Mexico, and there were fears his tournament was over after the Dutch team said he likely would need two to four weeks to recover.

Van Persie starred for the Oranje as he scored two goals in their 5-1 demolition of Spain in their opening Group B game, then added another strike and an assist in the 3-2 win over Australia.

But after being suspended for the final group game against Chile, the Manchester United forward failed to find the net against either Mexico or Costa Rica, missing gilt-edged chances against Los Ticos as Van Gaal's side edged through on penalties.

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