Roma confirmed every Dutch football fan's worst fears on Monday afternoon. Star midfielder Kevin Strootman had been ruled out of the 2014 World Cup having torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and potentially damaged his meniscus.
Strootman, who suffered the problem during Roma's Serie A defeat to Napoli on Sunday night, is not expected to return to the football field until 2015.
His absence is a huge blow to Holland ahead of its World Cup challenge, and he is not the only big name star to miss out on football's biggest event in Brazil.
England has already been robbed of the services of Arsenal winger Theo Walcott. The fleet-footed wideman also ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, during an FA Cup clash with Tottenham in January, and will not be on the plane to South America. His club teammate Jack Wilshere broke his foot playing for England against Denmark last week and may not return to first team action until the second weekend of May, thus also placing doubts over his participation in Brazil.
Colombia superstar Radamel Falcao seems unlikely to be fit in time for the World Cup after tearing his ACL during Monaco's Coupe de France encounter against Chasselay at the end of January. Although the forward's rehabilitation is going better than expected, he faces an almighty race to be ready by June.
Germany trio Holger Badstuber, Ilkay Gundogan and Sami Khedira also have injury worries. Bayern defender Badstuber has been out with a cruciate ligament injury since November 2012, and it is still not clear when he will return.
Dortmund star Gundogan has made just one Bundesliga appearance this season because of a back complaint and his comeback is also clouded by uncertainty. There is better news for Khedira, who claims he will be back in Real Madrid training within weeks after rupturing knee ligaments in November, although he still needs to confirm his form and fitness.
In Italy, Fiorentina forward Giuseppe Rossi's participation in Brazil seemed doubtful when he suffered a knee injury against Livorno in January. However the 26-year-old is expected to return to training in April, giving him the chance to prove his fitness in the final weeks of the season.
Meanwhile, Portugal will have to make do without teenage starlet Bruma. The Galatasaray livewire also suffered an ACL injury in January and will be out for at least six months.
In the CONCACAF region, Bryan Oviedo suffered a double leg break in a FA Cup match with Everton, putting the Costa Rican left back's World Cup chances in doubt.
Finally, Japan captain Makoto Hasebe underwent surgery at the end of last month after injuring his right knee again. It is not yet known when the Nurnberg player will be ready to return to action, but it is expected to go right down to the wire.