Argentina’s preparations for the Copa América took another blow yesterday with the news that Lucas Biglia would miss the tournament after suffering a hamstring injury in training. The Lazio midfielder would certainly have been in Gerardo Martino’s starting eleven for La Albiceleste’s opener against Chile but has been ruled out for the entire competition and in his place Tigres’ Guido Pizarro has been drafted in.
Biglia withdrew from an initial training session in Santa Clara in some discomfort and after undergoing tests, Argentina’s medical team have confirmed that the 30-year-old has a grade two tear of his hamstring.
Tottenham forward Érik Lamela also limped out of the session with an ankle knock but is expected to be fit. However, he joins Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi in a growing group of players already carrying injuries before the tournament begins.
Those three should make recoveries to play a part in the Copa América, however, with Biglia certainly out, Argentina have responded by calling up former Lanús midfielder Guido Pizarro.
Pizarro has been playing for Mexican club Tigres since leaving Lanús in 2013 and has continued to impress in Liga MX.
The 26-year-old is uncapped by Argentina but was tipped for great things when he burst into the Lanús side as a youngster. His inclusion in Martino’s preliminary squad was one of the few surprises, given the national team hadn’t previously looked at him, but Biglia’s injury presents a huge opportunity.
Capable of playing as a number five, Pizarro appears a natural replacement for Biglia but El Conde is perhaps more progressive. Driving from deep Pizarro is an adept box-to-box midfielder and the opportunity to showcase this in the United States may earn the 26-year-old the move to Europe that was expected some years ago.