The 2014 FIFA World Cup chances of European outfit Croatia have taken a huge blow, with classy midfielder Niko Kranjcar ruled out of the game’s headline tournament in Brazil with a leg injury suffered on the weekend.
Plying his trade at English club Queens Park Rangers, Kranjcar limped from the field in the 33rd minute of his side’s successful promotion playoff with Derby County and was later revealed to have ruptured a muscle in his leg.
Clearly in agony after extending his leg in an attempt to stem a Derby counter play, Croatian squad doctor Boris Nemec said that tests had confirmed Kranjcar’s worst fears on Sunday.
“An MRI scan showed that Kranjcar has a rupture of a leg upper muscle” Nemec said.
Having scored 16 goals in an impressive total of 81 appearances in the Red and White cheques of Croatia, Kranjcar said that while very disappointing, nothing could have been done to help his situation.
“I knew right away that the injury was serious and that I would miss the World Cup” Kranjcar told Sportske Novosti.
“I’m really sorry that I will not be able to play in Brazil. The World Cup is something that everybody dreams about, particularly in Brazil.
“But I’m desperate. I regret it, but I will get over it.
“This is life and things like this can happen. There are ups and down, there are celebrations and disappointments.
“There is nothing I can do and there are bigger tragedies than this. I guess this was my fate.”
A real chance of progressing through to the knock-out stage of the 2014 Soccer World Cup, Croatia has been drawn alongside hosts Brazil, Mexico and Cameroon in Group A are offered at an even $2 to progress at Ladbrokes Australia.
Confirmed to play against Brazil in the 2014 Soccer World Cup’s opening match on June 13th, Croatia is currently given little hope of an upset at odds of $10.