BILLERBECK, Germany, June 13 (Reuters) - Serbia & Montenegro centre back Nemanja Vidic will miss the remainder of the World Cup after damaging knee liggaments in training on Monday.
'Unfortunately, our defender Nemanja Vidic is out for the rest of the tournament after sustaining a serious knee injury in Monday's training,' team spokesman Aleksandar Boskovic told a news conference on Tuesday.
'He was carried off in excruciating pain. A detailed medical check-up established damage to his left knee ligaments and he will be sidelined for several weeks at least,' he said.
Vidic was due to return to the team for the crunch Group C match with Argentina on Friday having missed the 1-0 opening defeat by the Netherlands through suspension.
His absence will be a massive blow for the Serbs, who are under pressure to get a result and now have only 21 players to choose from after the coach's son Dusan Petkovic left the squad over a nepotism row before the tournament started.
'Obviously, Nemanja is a bit down at the moment as his dream of playing in the World Cup has been shattered. But he will be alright as he is a tough lad,' Boskovic said.
Coach Ilija Petkovic will once again be forced to field a makeshift defence and is likely to start with Igor Duljaj at right back after his experiment with Nenad Djordjevic backfired when Dutch winger Arjen Roben gave him a torrid time.
Goran Gavrancic will be in central defence again to cover for Vidic while Ognjen Koroman, who looked lively on the right wing after coming on for Djordjevic just before halftime against Netherlands, should start in Gelsenkirchen on Friday.
'We know this is a must-win game for us and we will have to attack. Beating Argentina will be a mountain of a task because we are talking about the best team in the world,' Koroman said.
'Their midfield and strikers are always a handful for any opposition but we won't lie down and roll over. If we go down, we will go down fighting.'
Serbia & Montenegro complete their opening round fixtures against Ivory Coast, who lost their opening match to Argentina 2-1 and meet Netherlands in Stuttgart on Friday.