Paulo Dybala of Roma on the bench before the UEFA Europa League, Group G soccer match between AS Roma and Servette FC, in Rome, Italy, 05 October 2023. EFE-EPA/FEDERICO PROIETTI

Injured Dybala ruled out of Argentina’s next two World Cup qualifiers

Buenos Aires, Oct 8 (EFE).- Roma striker Paulo Dybala has been left out of the Argentina squad for the double South American qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, against Paraguay and Peru, due to a knee injury.

The official account of the Argentina national football team confirmed on social networking site X that the striker was ruled out after he suffered a knee injury while playing in the Italian Serie A match between Roma and Cagliari on Sunday.

Villarreal midfielder Juan Foyth was also ruled out of the matches due to injury concerns.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has replaced him with Lens center-back Facundo Medina.

Dybala left the game at the Unipol Domus stadium in Cagliari in tears after picking up the injury, which, according to Roma manager Jose Mourinho, was serious in nature.

“We have to wait for the results of the tests, but I have a lot of confidence in the players and their knowledge of their bodies. Paulo is not optimistic and neither am I,” Mourinho told the DAZN network after his side’s 4-1 win.

With both Foyt and Dybala ruled out, Scaloni now has 33 players at his disposal for the qualifying matches.

Six of them — Marco Pellegrino, Lucas Esquivel, Carlos Alcaraz, Bruno Zapelli, Thiago Almada, and Facundo Faras — are also in the U-23 Pre-Olympic team.

Ángel di María, Ángel Correa, and Lisandro Martínez are the most notable absentees in the team that will have its captain, Lionel Messi, despite his physical discomfort in recent weeks.

Argentina will play against Paraguay on Oct. 12 at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires and against Peru on Oct. 17 in Lima.

Argentina are now jointly leading the qualifying campaign in South America with six points, alongside Brazil.

Colombia are in third place, having collected four points thanks to a win and draw. EFE