After conquering the injury plague in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Robin van Persie might be stricken by an illness at the worst possible time.
Van Persie, 30, is suffering from a “stomach problem,” which could rule him out of the Netherlands’ 2014 FIFA World Cup semifinal game against Argentina on Wednesday, according to Dutch boss Louis van Gaal.
“He has a stomach problem, an intestinal problem, van Gaal said at his pregame press conference, according to the Press Association. “I don’t know (if he will play). I will decide (on Wednesday).”
Van Persie didn’t practice with the rest of the Netherlands’ squad on Tuesday. Instead, the star striker worked out on his own.
Van Persie is the Netherlands’ captain and all-time leading goal scorer (46 goals in 89 games), and Van Gaal hopes he will recover in time to face Argentina.
“Van Persie is our captain so he is very important to us,” Van Gaal said. “In principle my captain always plays, but he has to be fit.”
Van Persie has scored three goals in five games at the 2014 World Cup, including a spectacular header in his team’s 5-1 victory over Spain, but he failed to score in his team’s two games in the knockout rounds.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, 30, likely will partner Arjen Robben in the Netherlands’ front line if van Persie is unable to play. Huntelaar scored the game-winning goal from the penalty spot in the Netherlands’ 2-1 win against Mexico in the Round of 16.
Hutelaar’s goal-scoring ability and international record (35 goals in 64 games) make him arguably the most dangerous backup striker at the 2014 World Cup.
But most Netherlands fans would rather van Persie start against Argentina. The game could be a shootout, and the Dutch want to have their biggest gun.