Argentina will be without defender Marcos Rojo for their World Cup quarter-final clash with either Belgium or the United States due to his accumulation of yellow cards.
Kevin Gehl of WLNS noted the Sporting CP star's automatic absence, which is good news for whichever team advances from the day's second match:
Any player who sees two yellow cards or a straight red in all matches starting with the group stage and extending through the quarterfinals is forced to miss the team's next fixture. Rojo previously received a yellow in the side's group opener against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Although he's often been overshadowed by the Albiceleste's star power, losing him is a major setback for the Argentine back line. The versatile defender has done a tremendous job at left-back, both in terms of protecting his own net and moving forward to join the attack.
The highlight of his strong play was scoring the game-winning goal in the final match of the group stage, a 3-2 win over Nigeria.
FIFA passed along comments from him after the memorable moment:
To score my first goal for Argentina, and for it to come at the World Cup and to secure three points for us—that’s what dreams are made of.
I couldn’t ask for more, although it wasn’t a particularly beautiful goal.
Now the question for head coach Alejandro Sabella is how to replace him. The trio of Ezequiel Garay, Federico Fernandez and Pablo Zabaleta has been constant alongside Rojo, but the side doesn't have a direct replacement at left-back.
Hugo Campagnaro, Martin Demichelis and Jose Maria Basanta are all used to playing in the middle. So somebody will have to play out of their natural spot to fill the void. Getting up to speed quickly for a quarter-final match is also an issue.
It shows that while Rojo isn't the biggest name on the roster, his absence will certainly be felt by Argentina in the next round.
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