Argentina were hit by concern over the fitness of star forward Lionel Messi as the diminutive Barcelona playmaker did not take part in training on Thursday. Argentina tackle in-form Germany in the glamour tie of the FIFA World Cup™ quarter-finals in Cape Town on Saturday.

The South Americans said the little wizard has a cold and that he was kept out of training for precautionary reasons. They also said that his particiaption on Saturday is not in doubt. The Argentinian delegation refused to comment further, saying only that his nose was blocked and that he trained alone in the gym while his team-mates played outside.

Argentina and Germany meet in a repeat of the quarter-final four years ago when the Europeans won 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.