Early reports of Sergio Aguero being ruled out of the rest of the World Cup through injury were quashed on Wednesday, when the striker trained with the squad ahead of their quarter-final matchup against Belgium.
After a hamstring injury picked up in the side’s final group game against Nigeria saw him miss Tuesday’s last 16 clash with Switzerland, there were serious fears that Aguero’s tournament could be over, heaping yet more pressure on talisman Lionel Messi to carry the team through the coming weeks.
While his quick recovery is therefore extremely encouraging, the Manchester City star still remains a long shot to feature in Saturday’s game against the World Cup’s so-called dark horses, who are coming off a hard-fought 2-1 extra-time victory over the USA.
Aguero endured an injury-hit 2013-14 season with City, in which the 26-year-old was restricted to 23 Premier League appearances during the club’s title-winning campaign, with his fitness issues have seemingly carried over into the tournament.
Nevertheless, the former Atletico Madrid star still managed to score 17 times in the league and, with an international record of 21 goals in 54 games, is arguably the most fundamental piece of the Argentina lineup after captain Messi.
Despite picking up maximum points on their way to topping Group F, manager Alejando Sabella’s side have largely underwhelmed thus far, requiring extra-time to overcome Switzerland 1-0 earlier in the week, while also heavily relying on the brilliance of Messi to rescue them in every game thus far.
The return of Aguero would certainly ease some of the goalscoring burden on the Barcelona playmaker but, judging by their recent performances, the rest of the squad will also need to pick up the slack if Argentina are to have any hope of matching their pre-tournament expectations this summer.