Argentina’s Tagliafico is ready for the opener against Croatia

DOHA (AP) — Nicolas Tagliafico will appear Tuesday evening at the start of Argentina’s World Cup semifinal against Croatia in Qatar. National coach Lionel Scaloni cannot rely on his other left backs, Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montel. They were yellow-carded in Friday’s quarter-final against the Dutch national team, won on penalties, and will serve a suspension.

Tagliafico joined the final press conference for the first semi-final of the 22nd World Cup on Monday. “If the coach calls me, I’m ready,” said the defender, who switched Ajax for Olympique Lyonnais last summer.

Tagliafico, 30, started the World Cup as a starter. After losing the opening match against Saudi Arabia (1-2), he did not appear at the kick-off of the final round in Qatar. Left-back Olympique Lyonnais, who left Ajax last summer, was allowed to fill in during the clash with Poland, Australia and the Dutch national team.

National coach Scaloni also expects to be able to use Rodrigo De Paul and Angel Di Maria against Croatia, who lost the previous World Cup in Russia. Both players struggled with physical complaints while starting the game with the Orange. “But they’re fine,” Scaloni said. “We’ll have to see how many minutes they play.”

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