Russia’s injury problems mounted on Monday after key defensive midfielder Igor Denisov told AFP that he will miss Euro 2016 after suffering a hamstring injury in a friendly against Serbia.
The Russian squad had already lost influential Alan Dzagoev after the CSKA Moscow midfielder fractured a bone in his foot last month.
Dynamo Moscow’s Denisov, 32, went down in the 51st minute of Sunday’s friendly, which ended 1-1.
“I injured my hamstring in the match against Serbia,” Denisov told AFP. “It’s a pity, but I will have to miss the Euro.”
Russia’s Football Union (RFU) said in a statement that an MRI scan on Denisov’s leg showed muscle damage that “rules out the possibility of a recovery within the next two weeks.”
He will return to Russia from France, where the Euros kick off on Friday, to undergo medical treatment.
R-Sport news agency reported that Zenit Saint-Petersburg midfielder Artur Yusupov, who trained with the Russian squad on Monday, could replace Denisov, although the RFU has yet to make an official announcement.
“Words fail me, it’s a pity and it’s so unexpected,” Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko, who also serves as president of the RFU, told TASS agency. “Of course it will weaken the team’s midfield a great deal.”
Russia, hosts for the 2018 World Cup, have been drawn alongside England, Wales and Slovakia in Group B for Euro 2016. – Agence France-Presse