Midfielder Niko Kranjcar has become the third player to withdraw from the Croatia World Cup squad due to injury in the last week and will miss the finals in Brazil, the Croatian Football Federation said on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old was injured playing for Queens Park Rangers in their 1-0 Championship playoff win over Derby County at Wembley on Saturday when they won promotion back to the Premier League.
The Croatian FA confirmed the injury on their official website stating: “Niko Kranjcar will miss the World Cup due to a hamstring injury.”
The decision was taken after tests at their training camp in Austria.
Kranjcar, who has 81 caps and scored 16 goals for his country, follows Dnipro defender Ivan Strinic and Hamburg midfielder Ivo Ilicevic out of coach Niko Kovac’s squad.
Kovac said the injury would sideline Kranjcar for two-to-four weeks.
“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.
“We know how difficult this must be for him, since the World Cup in Brazil is one-in-a-lifetime event.
“He deserved to be in Brazil. I wish him a speedy recovery, and now we have to figure out the best possible solutions”, Kovac continued.
Croatia start their World Cup campaign in the opening match on June 12 against Brazil in Sao Paulo before playing Mexico and Cameroon in their other Group A matches.
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