April 11, 2018 / 12:29 PM / 9 months ago

Serbia's Nastasic doubtful for World Cup with knee injury

Football Soccer - Schalke 04 v Ajax Amsterdam - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg - Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany - 20/4/17 Schalke's Matija Nastasic looks dejected after the match Reuters / Wolfgang Rattay Livepic

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia centre back Matija Nastasic faces several weeks out with a knee injury and is doubtful for the June 14-July 15 World Cup in Russia.

“I will be sidelined for several weeks after damaging my knee ligaments but I don’t know exactly how long or whether I will recover in time for the World Cup,” the 25-year old defender told Belgrade’s B92 website (www.b92.net) on Wednesday.

Nastasic, who plays for Bundesliga side Schalke, did not specify when or how he got injured. He was substituted in the latter stages of their 3-2 defeat at Hamburg SV on Saturday.

His absence would be a huge blow to Serbia’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the 32-nation tournament in Russia, with coach Mladen Krstajic devoid of enough quality options at the back.

Serbia, who qualified for their first major tournament since the 2010 World Cup, are in Group E alongside Brazil, Switzerland and Costa Rica.

They start the campaign against Costa Rica on June 17 in Samara, followed by games against the Swiss in Kaliningrad on June 22 and Brazil in Moscow five days later.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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