Groin injury may rule de Jong out

Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong is likely out for the rest of the World Cup after suffering a...

Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong is likely out for the rest of the World Cup after suffering a tear to his groin muscle against Mexico on Sunday. (Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters)

Sun Wire Services

, Last Updated: 5:29 PM ET

Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong is expected to be out for two to four weeks after a scan confirmed he had suffered a tear to his groin muscle, the Dutch football association announced on Tuesday.

The injury would appear to rule De Jong out for the rest of the World Cup, with the final less than two weeks away, but the association said he would stay with the squad in Brazil and work on his rehabilitation.

The 29-year-old De Jong, who has won 75 caps, lasted just nine minutes of the last-16 match against Mexico in Fortaleza, with coach Louis van Gaal describing his enforced withdrawal as a major blow to the team.

De Jong won infamy four years ago for a kung-fu style kick on Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso in the final of the last World Cup but was not sent off for the offence by English referee Howard Webb.

The Netherlands play Costa Rica in their World Cup quarterfinals match on Saturday in Salvador.

CR’S MILLER SIDELINED

Costa Rica defender Roy Miller is out of Saturday's World Cup quarterfinals match against the Netherlands with a muscle injury in his left leg suffered during training.

"The injury will keep him off the pitch for several days," the Central American nation's football association said of the 29-year-old left back who hurt himself practising penalties.

Costa Rica has been arguably the biggest surprise at the World Cup, emerging top of a group including Italy, England and Uruguay, with two wins and a draw.

The Ticos then squeezed past Greece in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw when they were reduced to 10 men following the sending-off of defender Oscar Duarte.

They play the Dutch in Salvador on Saturday.

The lanky and versatile Miller, who plays for New York Red Bulls, normally operates at left back but can also slot in at the centre of defence. So his absence will be particularly felt against the Dutch given Duarte's suspension.

SOUTH KOREA SPLIT ON COACH

The South Korean Football Association is undecided on whether to sack coach Hong Myung-bo after the team's dismal World Cup group-stage exit with a swell of support emerging for the former skipper to stay on for the 2015 Asian Cup campaign.

The Korean squad arrived back in Seoul on Monday to be pelted with toffee by fans, angered by their one point showing in Brazil where they lost 4-2 to Algeria, 1-0 to Belgium and drew with Russia to finish bottom of Group H.

Hong, South Korea's most capped player and captain of the 2002 side that finished fourth at the World Cup, received welcome and powerful support on Tuesday amid calls for him to quit the role he only took up last year.

"Obviously, Hong is getting bad publicity but it's difficult for the KFA to go ahead and fire him," a KFA official, who requested anonymity, told the Yonhap news agency on Tuesday.

"There are plenty of people within the KFA who say Hong should stay on board for the duration of his contract.

"Firing the head coach based on poor results isn't always the best course of action."

SANTOS ATTRACTS CRITICISM

Outgoing Greece coach Fernando Santos has angered sections of the local media and soccer figures by claiming that some of his players were more interested in personal success than following instructions.

Greece lost on penalties against 10-man Costa Rica in their last 16 clash in Recife on Sunday, after the match had ended 1-1 in extra time.

However, Santos, whose contract expired on Monday, said in a radio interview in his native Portugal that instead of focusing on teamwork, some players had pursued individual glory.

Outspoken Panathinaikos president Giannis Alafouzos led the criticism of the 59-year-old Santos.

"He is blaming the players for the elimination. It's a shame he did not use the talented young players at his disposal instead of being stuck in his ways," Alafouzos said on his Twitter account.

Prominent Greek sports media site gazzetta.gr weighed into the debate with an article asking: "Santos, why did you have to spoil everything right at the end?", referring to the comments and criticising the fact Santos left Brazil early to catch a flight to Portugal, missing the team's farewell dinner.


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