Robin van Persie Illness: Updates on Netherlands Star's Status and Return

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Robin van Persie Illness: Updates on Netherlands Star's Status and Return
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Updates from Wednesday, July 9

Sky Sports News reports on when Robin van Persie's playing status will be determined ahead of Wednesday's World Cup semifinal clash with Argentina: 

Marcus Christenson of The Guardian reports that van Persie will play on Wednesday:

Original Text

The Netherlands are currently preparing for their crucial 2014 World Cup semi-final clash with Argentina on Wednesday, but the Dutch team could be without one of their best performers of the tournament when they face the Albiceleste.

Head coach Louis van Gaal told reporters that star striker Robin van Persie was unable to train Tuesday due to intestinal problems, per Goal: "Van Persie had some intestinal problems so it was best he didn't train," Van Gaal said.

The Manchester United forward was in fine form during the group stages of the World Cup but failed to find the target in both of his team's matches in the knockout stages. According to FIFA.com, Van Persie has never scored a goal past the group stages in any of his World Cup matches:

Robin van Persie is still waiting for his first goal in a knockout match at a major international tournament.

The Manchester United striker's flying header against Spain helped set the tone for a group-phase of joyous football, but since then - and in keeping with the tournament as a whole - the goals have gradually dried up. Having claimed two goals in the 5-1 rout of Spain, he netted in the 3-2 win over Australia, but has since gone 225 minutes without scoring.

Tom Williams of Agence France-Presse wrote about Van Persie's struggles and his matchup against the Argentina defenders:

Van Persie's excellent relationship with Van Gaal, who takes over at United after the World Cup, means he has less reason to fear for his place in the team than another goal-shy striker might.

But while Argentina's commitment to going forward means that he should have more room to manouevre than against the deep-lying Costa Ricans, he is running out of opportunities to truly leave his mark on the tournament.

Despite his struggles in front of goal, RVP remains a vital component of Van Gaal's squad. As one of the world's best poachers, his mere presence forces defences to play him close, opening up running lanes for team-mates like Arjen Robben.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Argentina haven't conceded many goals at the 2014 World Cup—just three in five matches—but their defence has looked shaky under pressure and is perceived as one of the team's weak spots.

The Netherlands already lost Kevin Strootman to injury before the start of the World Cup and had to play Costa Rica without star midfielder Nigel de Jong. Yet another injury to a top player could be too much to overcome for a young and relatively inexperienced Dutch side.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar would be the likely replacement should Van Persie not recover in time to face Argentina, and the 30-year-old is a productive striker in his own right. But he has done most of his damage coming from the bench during the tournament. Huntelaar starting would give Van Gaal one less option to use as a sub during the match.

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