Completesportsnigeria.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU highlights five players from Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup Group D foes who are battling to be fit for the finals in Russia.
GYLFIL SIGURDSSON (ICELAND)
The Everton midfielder is undeniably one of the best talents at Heimir Hallgrimsson’s disposal, but a knee injury in March has cast serious doubts over his availability for Iceland at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The 28-year-old however remains optimistic that he will be back to full fitness in time, but history has shown that knee injuries can be particularly problematic.
LUCAS BIGLIA (ARGENTINA)
The midfielder who plays for Italian giants, AC Milan, faces a race against time to be fit for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after suffering a slight lumbar fracture in his back in a league game against Benevento last week.
Biglia , who is a key member of Jorge Sampaoli’s side, has been ruled out of action for at least six weeks.
Sampaoli is already considering
Stuttgart midfielder Santiago Ascacibar as a replacement in case Biglia fails to shake off the injury before the World Cup.
SERGIO AGUERO (ARGENTINA)
Sergio Aguero underwent a minor knee surgery last week after failing to overcome an injury picked up in training with Manchester City last month.
The 29-year-old has not started a game for Manchester City since the 1-0 win against Chelsea on March 4.
The forward has suffered swelling of the knee as he has worked on his recovery, prompting City to send him for exploratory surgery to determine the full nature of the problem, which is believed to be meniscus damage.
Arthroscopy has a quicker healing time than other types of surgery, but Aguero could still face up to a month out of action – meaning he would effectively be ruled out for the rest of the season.
Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi has been mooted as a replacement for him should he fail to recover fully from the injury before the World Cup.
SERGIO ROMERO (ARGENTINA)
The Manchester United goalkeeper was forced to withdraw after just 22 minutes of Argentina’s friendly loss to Spain last month.
The 31-year-old clashed with Diego Costa as the forward scored Spain’s first goal in the 6-1 victory.
He has not made a match-day squad for United since the injury with no date set for his return.
VEDRAN CORLUKA (CROATIA)
The centre-back who have been plagued by injuries for most of his career was substituted in the 89th minute in his Russian club, Locomotive Moscow’s league clash against Ufa last Sunday.
With no news yet on his return date, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic will hope he recover in time to be fit for the mundial.
Corluka missed most of last year with an Achilles tendon injury.