Angel Di Maria is confident Gonzalo Higuain can help Argentina overcome their goalscoring troubles against Brazil in the absence of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero.
Gerardo Martino’s side suffered defeat to Ecuador before a draw with Paraguay in their opening two qualifiers for World Cup 2018, with Messi absent due to a knee problem and Aguero suffering a hamstring injury in their first outing.
Higuain – who missed in the penalty shoot-out that saw Chile beat Argentina to the Copa America 2015 title – was overlooked in that squad, but has been brought back in for the upcoming fixtures against Brazil and Colombia.
The 27-year-old has scored nine goals in 12 Serie A appearances for Napoli this season, and Di Maria hopes he can maintain that form with the national team.
“I’m happy about Pipa’s [Higuain] return, he is having a very good season with Napoli,” Di Maria said.
“Hopefully he can continue on this path here. I hope he helps us score goals, which is what we are missing.”
Injury once again rules out Messi and Aguero, while Ezequiel Garay and Pablo Zabaleta are also sidelined, but Paris Saint-Germain winger Di Maria still expects Argentina to challenge for a first win of the campaign when they face Brazil on Thursday.
“I think that the injuries are important, especially those of Kun [Aguero] and Leo who are fundamental,” he added.
“But the guys that are here will try to do everything to get the three points here [in Buenos Aires against Brazil] and in Barranquilla [against Colombia].
“We know it will not be easy.”