Marco Reus — Germany's Footballer of the Year in 2012 and a member of UEFA's 2013 team of the year — had to be helped off the pitch after turning his ankle in Germany's 6-1 win over Armenia, sparking fears that he would be cruelly denied an appearance at the World Cup. After the match, the German federation posted a message on their Facebook page that started with the words, "We do not have good news."
The Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder, who led the Bundesliga in assists last season, has a partially torn ligament above his left ankle. It was later confirmed that he would not play in Brazil — a disappointment not only for Germany supporters, but any fans who enjoy watching exciting and incredibly talented players who are at the top of their game. Reus' absence will probably be welcomed by Germany's group G opponents: Portugal, Ghana and the U.S. Though, as they showed against Armenia, Germany's replacements are more than adequate and would likely start for any of their opponents.
He now joins a depressingly long list of marquee players who have suffered serious injuries in the lead-up to the World Cup, which was probably the inevitable result of two additional months of football tacked onto the already long and grueling club season. France's Franck Ribery and Russia captain Roman Shirokov were ruled out earlier in the day. Italy's Riccardo Montolivo, Colombia's Radamel Falcao, Spain's Thiago Alcantara, Belgium's Christian Benteke, Holland's Kevin Strootman and Rafael van der Vaart, Germany's Ilkay Gundogan and Holger Badstuber, England's Theo Walcott and Kyle Walker, Costa Rica's Bryan Oviedo and Alvaro Saborio and Mexico's Luis Montes are just a few of the players who have been completely ruled of the World Cup due to injury.
Then there's the players who might still appear, but aren't fully fit. Like Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe, Uruguay's Luis Suarez, Germany's Manuel Neuer, Chile's Aruto Vidal, Spain's Diego Costa and England's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. And, frighteningly enough, there's still a few days left before the tournament begins.
Of course, no World Cup is immune to major injuries and absences, but the beauty of a tournament like this is that it transcends the involvement of any specific individuals. The absence or hobbled abilities of these players only means chances for new heroes to unexpectedly emerge in the most dramatic of moments.
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