Smicer ruled out of World Cup
By Ciaran Baynes
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Czech Republic midfielder Vladimir Smicer has been ruled out of the World Cup.
Czech Republic midfielder Vladimir Smicer has been ruled out of the World Cup due to a thigh injury.
The 33-year-old midfielder suffered an injury to the tendon behind the right knee in March and though the initial prognosis was for a month on the sidelines, he did not recovered as hoped.
A blood clot found in his thigh muscle by Czech team doctors last week always made his hopes of a final World Cup appearance less likely and an emotional Smicer conceded defeat on Thursday.
"We came to a conclusion that, unfortunately, my condition makes it impossible for me to travel to the World Cup and help the team," Smicer said.
"It was not an easy decision. It was emotional, I even shed some tears. But it would not be fair if I went to Germany and was not able to play.
"I will stay with the team when they travel to Germany, maybe for two days. I could not face staying any longer."
Rangers midfielder Libor Sionko, who was training with the squad as a stand-by player, comes into the squad and will wear Smicer's number seven shirt.
The news is a blow to Czech coach Karel Bruckner as though not a certain starter, Smicer was seen as a key member of their squad.
The former Liverpool man has been dogged by injuries since hitting his thirties missing much of his last two seasons at Anfield before his move to Bordeaux last summer.
His famous Champions League final goal was a rare club highlight in recent years, but his appearances in a Czech shirt - which he has worn on 80 occasions - have always been more consistent than those at domestic level.