Croatia's Kranjcar ruled out of World Cup
26 May 2014, 23:48
Zagreb - Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar will miss the World Cup after picking up a leg injury in Queens Park Rangers' Championship play-off win over Derby at Wembley, officials said on Monday.
Local media reported that Croatia coach Niko Kovac was "in shock" after learning the news, as the 29-year-old became the third player to be ruled out of the finals in Brazil in the past week.
"An MRI scan showed that Kranjcar has a rupture of leg upper muscle," Croatia squad doctor Boris Nemec told AFP.
A Croatian football federation spokesman said that the injury would sideline Kranjcar for "two to four weeks", adding that it was "too long a period to wait for him".
"I'm extremely sorry for Niko ... he is one of the most experienced players in our squad and he deserved to be part of it in Brazil," Kovac said.
"I needed Niko with his experience and good shape ... (but) we have to go on," the former Croatia captain stressed.
Kranjcar was replaced in the 33rd minute of Saturday's clash at Wembley with a left leg injury.
Kovac had already lost defender Ivan Strinic and midfielder Ivo Ilicevic from his finals squad.
The remaining 26 players are currently undergoing final preparations in Tazmanndorf in Austria.
Star midfielder Luka Modric, who helped Real Madrid to the Champions League title on Saturday, will meet up with the squad at a later date.
Kovac is expected to announce his final 23-man squad after a friendly against Mali on May 31. The FIFA deadline for naming squads is June 2.
Croatia start their World Cup campaign on June 12 against hosts Brazil in the opening match in Sao Paulo.
Croatia, whose best result at a World Cup was third place in 1998, have also been drawn alongside Mexico and Cameroon in Group A.