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Vivianne Miedema ‘gutted’ to miss World Cup after ACL tear

Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema left Thursday's Champions League match with a knee injury. (David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

The Netherlands women’s national team suffered a blow to its 2023 World Cup hopes as star striker Vivianne Miedema went down with a torn ACL.

The injury, which she sustained last Thursday while playing for Women’s Super League club Arsenal, adds her name to the long list of top players who have suffered knee injuries this year.

In a statement Monday announcing the nature of her injury, she ruled herself out for next summer’s World Cup, which is just 213 days away.

“I won’t be able to help my team anymore this season, no World Cup, surgery and rehab for a long time,” she said.

Miedema is the all-time leading scorer for the Netherlands women’s team, with 95 goals in 115 international appearances. This year, she had 10 goals through 11 appearances; in 2021, 15 goals in 13 appearances.

She played a big role in the Netherlands’ run to the World Cup final in 2019, scoring three goals in the tournament. Just one other Dutch player, Lieke Martens, scored more than one goal in the tournament, in which the Netherlands fell to the USWNT in the championship match.

Miedema’s absence could create more problems for the Netherlands than just a hole in their offense. She also provides a veteran presence for a team that has undergone many changes since that 2019 run.

In 2021, manager Sarina Wiegman departed for the England women’s national team. Mark Parsons succeeded her in the position, but his tenure was short-lived. The team crashed out in the quarterfinals of the Euros in July, and Parsons and the team parted ways soon afterward.

“In the run-up to and at the European Championship, both the games shown and the results were disappointing and we cannot afford that,” KNVB board member Jan Dirk van der Zee said. “The bar is high. The Netherlands was defending champion and also a finalist at the last World Cup, we want to participate for the prizes.”

The issues with Parsons, though, seemingly run deeper than the Euros run. When Danielle van de Donk was asked after the Euros loss what she had learned with Parsons at the helm, she said she would “think about that.”

In his place, Andries Jonker was named head coach. He’ll lead the team in the World Cup in a group that includes the USWNT and Vietnam.

The quarterfinal loss in the Euros had marked the return of Miedema, who missed most of the tournament with COVID-19. She later wrote about the difficulties of the tournament, including playing the full 120 minutes in the quarterfinal against France after she had spent days in bed with a fever.

That tournament became the catalyst for Miedema’s decision to take a step back from the pitch in November, but she had come back rejuvenated before she suffered her ACL injury.