BERLIN: Lars Bender was on Friday ruled out of next month's World Cup after suffering a thigh injury to deepen Germany's defensive midfield woes three weeks before their Brazil 2014 campaign.
The 25-year-old tore a tendon in his upper right thigh at their pre-World Cup training camp in north Italy, which he will leave on Friday, with Germany facing Portugal in their opening Group G game on June 16 in Salvador.
Germany head coach Joachim Loew has opted not to replace Bender in his 26-man squad, which needs to be reduced to 23 by June 2, but admits the loss of the Bayer Leverkusen star is a blow.
"When a player drops out just before the start of a tournament with an injury, then it's disappointing for everyone," said Loew after Bender suffered the injury on Thursday.
"I am personally very sorry for Lars and I know he really wanted to be in Brazil.
"In terms of his performances and character he is an absolute role model."
Bender's withdrawal further hampers Loew's defensive midfield plans where vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is unable to train with tendinitis of the knee while Real Madrid's Sami Khedira will not join the squad until after Saturday's Champions League final and spent most of the last six month sidelined with a knee injury.
Suarez ‘not ruled out’ for World Cup
Liverpool star Luis Suarez is remaining upbeat after the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) said that his participation at the World Cup ‘is not ruled out’ following knee surgery on Thursday.
"I'm doing great and am ready to run,” said Suarez. “Thanks to everyone and stay calm, I'll make it".
Earlier, in the first official statement to come out of the Uruguayan camp after news leaked that Suarez would require an operation, the AUF indicated that the player had ‘suffered an intense pain in his left knee’ in training on Wednesday morning.
It was therefore decided that he should undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair meniscus damage.
Experts said it could take anything from two to six weeks to recover from the keyhole surgery, but the AUF are remaining optimistic.
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