Croatia defender Strinic out of World Cup

Zagreb: Croatia defender Ivan Strinic will miss the World Cup with a leg injury, national team coach Niko Kovac said on Thursday. 

"Unfortunately the situation with Strinic is not good," Kovac told reporters in Zagreb, a day before the squad was set to depart for Austria for a pre-World Cup training camp.

"That`s why we have decided that he will not go with us for the preparations in Austria, nor to the World Cup. He would be out of training for at least ten days.

The 26-year-old Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk left-back had been struggling with a muscle problem in his left leg for the past three weeks.

"I feel sorry for Strinic, he is a player who has been in the squad for a long time ... but we will have to find another solution," added former Croatia captain Kovac.

On Monday, midfielder Ivo Ilicevic was also ruled out of the finals in Brazil with a leg problem. A calf injury also sidelined Ilicevic for Euro 2012.

A total of 26 players will leave for Bad Tazmanndorf in Austria on Friday with star midfielder Luka Modric still on club duty as Real Madrid prepare to face Atletico Madrid in Saturday`s Champions League final.

QPR midfielder Niko Kranjcar will also join the squad at a later date with his club set to meet Derby County in Saturday`s English Championship play-off final, where the winner will earn promotion to the Premier League.

Kovac is expected to announce his final 23-man squad after a friendly against Mali on May 31. The deadline for naming squads is June 2.

Croatia will start their World Cup campaign on June 12 when they take on hosts Brazil in the opening match in Sao Paulo.

Croatia, whose best result at a World Cup was third place in 1998, have also been drawn alongside Mexico and Cameroon in Group A.

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