Shane Stefanutto’s World Cup dream is over after suffering a serious knee injury in North Queensland’s 1-1 A-League draw with Perth Glory on Saturday.
Stefanutto crashed to the turf and immediately clutched at his right knee following an innocuous first half challenge from Glory midfielder Adriano Pellegrino.
The Socceroos defender had to be stretchered from the field and will miss the rest of the A-League season, as well as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
It is a bitter blow for the 29-year-old, who started in last month’s 3-1 loss to Korea and has been a key part in the Fury’s recent run of solid form.
“That’s his World Cup aspirations gone,” Fury coach Ian Ferguson said.
“He’s been one of our better players and now he’s out for the season.
“It’s a terrible blow for the club and for Shane.”
Stefanutto had scans on his knee after the match but the club’s medical staff will seek further advice from a surgeon upon his return to Queensland.
Meanwhile, Ferguson has backed the A-League’s tough stance on simulation despite the clampdown costing North Queensland dearly in the draw against Perth.
Fury midfielder Ufuk Talay was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence in the 45th minute when referee Ben Williams deemed the veteran had taken a dive in a battle for the ball with Glory skipper Jacob Burns.
Perth went 1-0 ahead four minutes later but the Fury snared a controversial equaliser when Glory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi was pushed over his own goal-line by Chris Grossman after making a save.
Ferguson said he had no problem with Williams’ decision to book Talay and said players deserved to wear the consequences – no matter how harsh – if they chose to dive.
“I don’t like it (simulation),” Ferguson said.
“At the end of the day it’s something I’d like to get rid of in the game.
“I don’t like people feigning injury and getting rewarded for it.
“You know if you dive you get booked.”
Glory coach Dave Mitchell agreed it was important to stamp out simulation.
“I think around the world the game’s got a problem, particularly in Australia because the other sports are so macho,” Mitchell said.
“They (the public) think soccer’s a sissy’s game and that’s part of the problem.
“They see people dive when they’re not hurt and (then they) fake injuries.
“It does put a blight on the game.
“It’s a frustrating thing for the league and everywhere in the world … it’s going to be hard to get rid of.”