Dutch blow as Nigel de Jong ruled out of World Cup
Midfielder suffered a torn groin muscle in victory over Mexico
Nigel de Jong of the Netherlands shakes hand with Dutch coach Louis van Gaal after being substituted during the World Cup round of 16 match against Mexico. The midfielder is out of the competition with a groin strain. Photograph: Vassil Donev/EPA
The 29-year-old was forced off nine minutes into the Oranje’s last-16 clash against Mexico on Sunday with a groin complaint.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal admitted after the last-gasp 2-1 win that De Jong was a doubt for their quarter-final clash against Costa Rica and the Dutch FA (KNVB) has now confirmed his tournament is over.
A post on its official Twitter account, KNVB, said: “Nigel de Jong has a tear in his groin muscle. He’s probably out for two to four weeks. De Jong continues rehabilitation with #Orange.”
Even in the best case scenario, given the final is on July 13th, the AC Milan midfielder would almost certainly not have enough time to recover.
Van Gaal described De Jong’s absence from Saturday’s quarter-final as a “big setback” so the full severity of the injury will be an even bigger blow.
“An MRI examination at hospital confirmed that Nigel de Jong is struggling with a tear in his groin muscle,” the KNVB said in a statement.
“The 75-times capped international is therefore presumably out for two to four weeks.
“De Jong, who in last Sunday’s match against Mexico was injured after nine minutes, remains with the team in Brazil to work there on his rehabilitation.”
His absence against Costa Rica and beyond will harm Netherland’s chances of reaching a second successive World Cup final.
The Oranje have impressed so far in Brazil, but Arjen Robben, speaking before the severity of the injury became clear, admitted De Jong would be a great miss.
“It’s a hard blow for us that Nigel has been injured,” the winger said.
“The possible absence of De Jong in the quarter-finals is a heavy loss.
“But our strength is that every player who comes off the bench on to the pitch manages to have a big impact on the match.
“The confidence within our team is very big, in spite of any absence.”