Finland captain Maija Saari has been ruled out of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 with a knee injury.
The 27-year-old defender suffered the problem while training with her club Mallbackens IF earlier this week and a medical examination showed up cruciate ligament damage. She now faces an operation and will be out of action for several months.
Saari said: "I still really cannot believe it. I thought an injury like this would never happen to me. I will come back and I want to support the team in the finals in every way I can even if I cannot now do it on the pitch."
With 74 caps and seven goals, Saari has been one of the backbones of the Finland defence for several years. Finland, already without striker Linda Sällström, have a friendly at home to Switzerland on 19 June and begin their Group A campaign against Italy in Halmstad on 10 July before going on to face Sweden and Denmark in Gothenburg.
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