Updates from Tuesday, March 18
ESPN FC reports Kevin Strootman underwent successful ACL surgery:
Netherlands midfielder Kevin Strootman will officially miss the World Cup after having successful ACL surgery today. pic.twitter.com/2iDP4Zc39Y— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 18, 2014
Roma's website provided a statement on the surgery via FOX Sports:
"Kevin Strootman this morning had surgery on his left knee at the AMC hospital in Amsterdam," a statement on Roma's website read. "The surgery, performed by Profs Van Dijk and Kerkhoff and Dr Heijboer and in the presence of the Giallorossi health director Dr Colautti, lasted about two hours and is a complete success.
"The player will start the rehabilitation therapies in the next few days in Amsterdam."
Kevin Strootman will miss the World Cup after the Dutch midfielder suffered cruciate ligament damage during Roma's loss to Napoli.
FourFourTwo writer Elko Born confirmed the news, which seriously damages both the Netherlands' quest to land their first World Cup trophy and Roma's battle for Serie A supremacy:
Ouch. Kevin Strootman injured his cruciate ligament last night. He will almost certainly miss the world cup. Huge loss for Holland.— Elko Born (@Elko_B) March 10, 2014
Roma confirmed the player will undergo surgery in the coming days via an official statement:
Kevin Strootman had an MRI scan this morning as he was examined by Professor Giuliano Cerulli. Tests showed he has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and there could also be damage to the meniscus. He will undergo surgery in the next few days.
While it has looked unlikely for quite some time that Roma would catch Juventus at the summit of Italy's division, Strootman has played a key role in the club's run to second place.
The 24-year-old defensive midfielder has remained a stalwart in the centre—racking up an average of 3.3 tackles across 25 appearances, per WhoScored.com—while also contributing on the creative side of things.
Which team will miss Kevin Strootman the most?
Strootman has scored five goals and contributed six assists to the team, which has netted 49 in 26 matches, ensuring he has been involved in an impressive 22.44 percent of Roma's successful strikes.
He is a complete midfielder, someone who isn't afraid to break forward when the correct opportunity arises, and he has the composure to take advantage when he heads to the box.
He is now guaranteed to miss the rest of the club season and will need a miracle to return before the summer's festivities in Brazil, leaving a chasm for both teams to fill. Roma will be forced to make use of squad players such as Rodrigo Taddei and youngster Luca Mazzitelli, while Louis van Gaal could provide the likes of Jordy Clasie and Davy Klaassen with more prominent roles.
The Dutch have difficult fixtures against Spain, Chile and Australia to negotiate if they are to progress out of the group stage. Strootman's injury may have just made this task more difficult, as noted by Thore Haugstad, editor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup magazines:
Huge blow for the Dutch if Strootman is out of World Cup. Adds to argument for those who believe Chile will make the Round of 16.— Thore Haugstad (@Haugstad1006) March 10, 2014
Strootman's value and importance are sure to be amplified during his recovery. While Roma still have an excellent shot at finishing second in Serie A—currently sitting three points clear of Napoli—they will feel the full force of Strootman's absence during the next few months.
It is a terrible shame to see such a talented player miss the sport's grandest tournament. Strootman will be 28 when the next World Cup rolls around, which suggests he is going to experience limited opportunities to galvanise the Oranje's hopes of silverware.