Football fans have expressed their frustration with Argentina starting Papu Gomez for their 2022 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 clash against Australia.
The two teams are set to clash horns on Saturday (December 3) at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in the second last-16 clash of the tournament. La Albiceleste have largely stuck to the line-up from their 2-0 win over Poland in their final Group C clash. Their only change has seen Gomez come in for Angel Di Maria.
Di Maria was notably substituted during the second half of the game against Poland after picking up a knock. The Juventus winger recovered in time for the match against Australia, but had to settle for a spot on the bench.
This meant Gomez, who hasn't played since Argentina's 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in their 2022 FIFA World Cup opener, was handed a starting berth. Lionel Scaloni's decision to bring the midfielder back into his XI has not gone down well with the fans, with one of them writing on Twitter:
"Bruv papa Gomez is bad luck for Argentina… he played vs Saudi and they lost"
"Papu Gomez was AWFUL against 🇸🇦 Can't believe this"
Here are some more reactions to Gomez's return to La Albiceleste's starting XI:
Argentina XI vs. Australia: Emiliano Martinez; Marcos Acuna, Nicolas Otamendi, Cristian Romero, Nahuel Molina; Alexis Mac Allister, Enzo Fernandes, Rodrigo De Paul; Julian Alvarez, Lionel Messi, Papu Gomez.
How has Papu Gomez fare in Argentina's 2022 FIFA World Cup loss to Saudi Arabia?
Argentina opened their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign with a shock loss against Saudi Arabia on November 22. La Albiceleste took the lead through a Lionel Messi penalty in the 10th minute, but conceded twice just after half-time and couldn't muster a response to lose 2-1.
Papu Gomez started the game and didn't endure too bad an outing on an individual level. The Sevilla star completed 22 of his 24 pass attempts while winning four fouls and six of his nine duels, while also recording a tackle and an interception.
He was hauled off in the 58th minute with his side trailing and was replaced by Julian Alvarez. Gomez hasn't received a single minute on the pitch since then, with Scaloni keeping him on the bench for the twin 2-0 wins over Mexico and Poland.