Netherlands’ De Jong likely out for rest of the World Cup, says van Gaal

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With the Netherlands having advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup with a dramatic comeback against Mexico, they will have to soldier on without a key piece of their midfield.

Dutch coach Louis van Gaal confirmed that injured midfielder Nigel de Jong will likely miss the rest of the World Cup with a groin injury.

“De Jong had a small groin strain and I was forced to substitute him,” van Gaal said in the post-match press conference. “I don’t know if he will be available for the quarter-final, though to be honest it’s very unlikely he will be able to play the next match.”

De Jong came off in just the eighth minute of the match, replaced by Bruno Martins Indi.  Daley Blind, playing out of position in the three-CB back line, moved up to the midfield and Indi, originally thought to be injured, slotted in on defense.

“[De Jong] is one of my most important players, so this is an enormous loss for us,” said van Gaal.

The 29-year-old AC Milan midfielder started all four matches for the Netherlands, playing all 270 minutes in the group stage.

He will have tests to figure the extent of the injury, but van Gaal said he fears it is “serious.” A pull could keep him out a week, but a tear could keep him out of action for two weeks or more, meaning he’d miss the rest of the tournament no matter how far the Netherlands advanced.