Perez likely to replace injured Di Maria

Sao Paulo: Reaching the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 24 years, Argentina will meet the Netherlands here Wednesday for a berth in the final.

Coach Alejandro Sabella revealed Benfica midfielder Enzo Perez is likely to replace injured Angel di Maria for the Albiceleste, reports Xinhua.

"I can`t confirm the starting line-up yet but Enzo Perez is likely to replace Angel Di Maria," Sabella told a pre-game press conference here Tuesday.

"He had a very good year and has all the conditions to be in major competitions. And he is much more mature psychologically. He is voted the best footballer in the Portuguese league for a reason."

The 28-year-old Perez paced Benfica to collect Portuguese league and cup titles last season. He replaced Di Maria in Argentina`s 1-0 victory over Belgium in the quarterfinals after the Real Madrid winger limped out in the 33rd minute following a right thigh injury.

Wednesday`s semifinal will be the fifth time for the two powerhouses to meet each other in World Cup finals, with one win, one draw and two defeats for Argentina. But the Albiceleste boss refused to brand the match with the word "revenge".

"Revenge is an ugly word. This is football. This word has no place in my dictionary. We want to win a football game," said the coach.

"We came here with our aim going as far as possible. We have returned to the last four after 24 years. The players have already won. But we want to gain more and reach the final," he said.

Sabella also admitted that the Netherlands are extremely dangerous opponents and giving them too much space in breaks could be very difficult for his side.

"We will face a team that is very strong offensively, but we want to make a good game," Sabella said.

"Robben is a great player, very important for the Netherlands as Neymar and Messi to Brazil and to Argentina. But the best of all is Messi."

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