Argentina's 'Noodle' Di Maria succumbs to fragility again
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The 'Noodle' has broken again with Angel Di Maria injured during a third consecutive major tournament playing for Argentina at the end of a busy club season.
Di Maria, nicknamed Fideo (noodle) for his thin frame, is out of the Copa America Centenario after a groin injury during Friday's 5-0 win over Panama in Chicago and unlikely to play again unless Argentina reach the June 26 final.
He missed the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil after a muscle tear during the quarter-final against Belgium and he injured a hamstring early in the 2015 Copa America final in Chile.
"During the match against Panama, Angel Di Maria felt pain on the inside of his right thigh, with tests showing a minor tear in the adductor," the Argentine FA said in a statement on its website (www.afa.org.ar).
Di Maria is one of Argentina's best attacking players and will be sorely missed in the knockout phase which Argentina have reached with a match to spare before their last Group D game against Bolivia in Seattle on Tuesday.
Argentine media reported, citing team sources, that the Paris Saint-Germain winger, a non-stop runner noted for his busy tracking down the wings and pinpoint crosses, would be out at least until the semi-finals.
Di Maria, who had scored his 17th Argentina goal in their opening 2-1 victory over Chile, came off before half-time in the win over Panama, having provided the cross for Nicolas Otamendi's early goal.
Lionel Messi, returning from a back injury, came on after an hour and scored a hat-trick, his fourth for Argentina and first in a competitive match.
(Reporting by Rex Gowar; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)