Rio Ferdinand was today ruled out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The new England skipper suffered a knee ligament injury at the end of a training session on the Three Lions' first full day in South Africa.
He was immediately sent to a local hospital for a scan by manager Fabio Capello, but the news has been bad enough to rule Ferdinand out of the entire tournament.
The FA confirmed the news this evening, with Ferdinand expected to be sidelined until the middle of next month.
It is obviously bad news and everyone with the squad is very disappointed and sorry for Rio.
"Further to a scan arranged by the England medical staff immediately after training on Friday afternoon, Rio has been ruled out for four to six weeks and will therefore unfortunately miss the World Cup," said a statement.
"Tottenham Hotspur's Michael Dawson has been contacted today and will fly to South Africa on Friday evening," it went on. "Steven Gerrard will lead the England team as captain in the tournament."
Coach Fabio Capello was quick to stress the obvious disappointment at hearing the news. "It is obviously bad news and everyone with the squad is very disappointed and sorry for Rio," he said. "It was an accidental injury in training, but had nothing to do with the pitch."