RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong's World Cup appears to be over after tests confirmed he has a tear in his groin muscle and will be sidelined for 2-to-4 weeks.
The Dutch football association said Tuesday that an MRI scan revealed the injury, almost certainly ruling one of the Dutch team's top performers out of the tournament.
The 29-year-old AC Milan midfielder limped off the field in the ninth minute of the Netherlands' 2-1 comeback win over Mexico on Sunday in the second round. After the match, Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal said the injury looked serious and that De Jong's absence would be a "blood-letting" for the team.
In his first reaction, De Jong tweeted: "Devastated with the news about my injury. Sadly enough this is part of the sport as well. Will work hard on my recovery now and keep hope."
De Jong had been in outstanding form in Brazil, dominating the midfield with tough, well-timed tackles and helping create a platform for the front pair of Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben.
The tournament in Brazil was something of a rehabilitation of the reputation of a player remembered by most for his crunching, chest-high tackle on Xabi Alonso in the World Cup final four years ago, an incident that earned him a yellow card.
The former Manchester City, Hamburg and Ajax player also was dropped from the Dutch team later in 2010 after a tackle in the Premier League left Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa with a broken leg.
But he has an unblemished disciplinary record in Brazil and Van Gaal singled him out for praise — something the coach rarely does to any of his players — after the gritty 3-2 win over Australia in the group stage.
Continue reading this story on the...