18.06.2024 12:49 h

Croatia's Vlasic withdraws from Euro 2024 over injury

Croatia midfielder Nikola Vlasic will miss the rest of Euro 2024 due to a muscle injury, the Croatian football federation (HNS) said on Tuesday.

Torino's Vlasic was injured during a training session with an MRI scan later revealing a torn muscle, according to a statement released by the federation, which did not offer more information about the nature of the injury.

The 26-year-old was an unused substitute in Croatia's tournament opening 3-0 loss to Spain on Saturday.

Before the competition, Vlasic also suffered an adductor injury but was eventually cleared to play with the squad in Germany.

"Nikola invested a lot of effort to help the team at the Euro 2024, and he is an integral part of the squad," said Croatia's coach Zlatko Dalic in an HNS statement.

"Unfortunately, this second injury happened, and I can only thank Nikola for his great effort and wish him a speedy recovery," Dalic added.

Vlasic said he was "extremely sorry" he was unable to continue playing with his team.

"I've done everything possible to be ready ... I believe in this team and I'm sure they will succeed -- I'll be their biggest fan!" said Vlasic.

Croatia are hoping to get their Euro 2024 campaign back on track against Albania on Wednesday, as their "golden generation" is in danger of a disappointing farewell the humiliating Spain loss.

Croatia have enjoyed an unprecedented spell of success since reaching the 2018 World Cup final in Russia, where they lost to France.

The country finished third at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and lost to Spain in the Nations League final only last year.