1 September 2014 16:49
Argentina captain Lionel Messi will miss his country’s World Cup final rematch against Germany.
The two nations go head-to-head in an international friendly in Dusseldorf on Wednesday, less than two months after Mario Gotze’s extra-time goal gave Germany a 1-0 win in the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro.
However, Barcelona star Messi will not take part after suffering a muscular injury in his club’s 1-0 La Liga victory over Villarreal on Sunday.
A statement from the Argentina Football Association read: “The player suffered a muscle strain in his right hamstring and needs rest as a precaution.”
Messi’s absence further undermines a game that will also be shorn of Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil, who has an ankle problem.
Ozil’s unavailability means Germany coach Joachim Low is without six players from the party that lifted the World Cup in Brazil.
Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Per Mertesacker have all retired from international football, while Bastian Schweinsteiger and Shkodran Mustafi are unfit.
Argentina will also be missing Maxi Rodriguez, Rodrigo Palacio and Ezequiel Garay, while Ezequiel Lavezzi will be evaluated due to a back complaint.