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COPA AMÉRICA

Di María set to start for Argentina in Copa América final

Tata Martino, who is without Lavezzi, Augusto, Pastore and Gaitán, will call on 'The Noodle' who is now over his injury problems.

Di María set to start for Argentina in Copa América final
OMAR TORRES AFP

Ángel Di María has recovered in record time from the muscle tear he suffered in the opening Copa América game against Chile. 'The Noodle' will return to Argentina's starting line-up in Monday's final, as a direct replacement for Ezequiel Lavezzi. Despite mounting injuries problems, Tata Martino will field his ideal XI, recovering Lucas Biglia and Di María for the last, and most important game of the tournament.

Martino hopes his team will finally break a barren run of 23 years without any successes in major tournaments. And while he has lost four crucial players to injury - Lavezzi, Augusto Fernández, Nicolás Gaitán and Javier Pastore, he'll be fielding his strongest side in the final.

Lavezzi fractured a wrist bone after falling awkwardly over an advertising hoarding in last night's semi-final against the USA; he will undergo surgery at some point over the next few days.

Another important loss is that of Augusto Fernández, who has been enjoying a superb tournament. The Atlético midfielder ruptured his left aductor muscle against the USA and will be out for a minimum of 10 days. His place will be taken by Lucas Biglia, who had been a first choice until injury forced him to lose his place to Augusto in the opening match.

Argentina's starting XI should read: Romero; Mercado, Otamendi, Funes Morí, Rojo; Biglia, Mascherano, Banega; Messi, Higuain, Di María.