Sunday 10 December 2017

De Jong's World Cup looks over after groin tear

Nigel de Jong. Picture: Felipe Dana/AP
Nigel de Jong. Picture: Felipe Dana/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 two-to-4 weeks.

The Dutch football association said 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 (above) 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.

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.

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