Netherlands suffered another blow to its midfield on Tuesday, when it was announced that Nigel de Jong will miss the rest of the World Cup with a tear in his groin muscle. He suffered the injury against Mexico, needing to come off after just nine minutes.
The expected recovery time is two-to-four weeks, which would put his earliest return date right after the World Cup final.
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— Nigel de Jong (@NDJ_Official) July 1, 2014
Playing or not playing ,injured or not injured ,I will stick with the group cos we all came here with a mission and we will continue 2 do so
— Nigel de Jong (@NDJ_Official) July 1, 2014
De Jong has been the best midfielder for the Dutch side so far, tackling effectively in the center of the park and then turning defense into offense for the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie. The 29-year old AC Milan player has also been more disciplined this World Cup, not picking up a yellow card after his kick to the chest of Spain's Xabi Alonso in 2010.
This is the third midfield injury for Netherlands, as Roma star Kevin Strootman and veteran Rafael van der Vaart were both ruled out prior to the competition due to injuries.
Without de Jong, the midfield takes an even bigger hit. Daley Blind moved into the midfield against Mexico, moving from the backline. He's versatile and talented enough to play in that spot, but there's not much depth otherwise. Jonathan de Guzman and Georginio Wijnaldum are the only other center midfielders to see time this World Cup. Twenty-three year-old Jordy Clasie is another option.
Netherlands will face Costa Rica in the quarterfinal round on Saturday.