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Russia captain Roman Shirokov to miss World Cup with back injury

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MOSCOW - Russia captain Roman Shirokov was ruled out of the World Cup on Friday with a lingering back injury.

Russia coach Fabio Capello said Shirokov will go to Finland on Monday for a back operation. The Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder missed all three World Cup warmup games, including on Friday when Russia beat Morocco 2-0 in its final pre-tournament friendly.

Yuri Zhirkov secured the win over Morocco in Moscow with a spectacular volley in the 58th minute for his first international goal, after centre back Vasily Berezutsky scored in the 29th from a corner.

Shirokov's place in the squad will be taken by 21-year-old midfielder Pavel Mogilevets, who has made just one appearance for Russia.

Shirokov is "hardly like to be able to help us at the World Cup," Capello was quoted as saying in local media. "Shirokov will be replaced in the squad by Mogilevets."

Denis Glushakov also missed the game against Morocco after injuring himself minutes before kickoff. However, the midfielder later told state television he remains fit for the World Cup.

Substitute left-back Dmitry Kombarov was replaced several minutes after requiring treatment on his ankle following a stiff challenge, but appeared able to run without major discomfort.

Omar El Kaddouri struck the post with a shot on 24 minutes, while Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Mbark Boussoufa was a threat at set pieces. Morocco goalkeeper Karim Fergouche twice denied Alexander Kokorin from close range.

Russia will arrive in Brazil on Sunday and is unbeaten in its 10 games since losing 1-0 to Northern Ireland in August.

At its first World Cup finals for 12 years, Russia starts against South Korea in Cuiaba on June 17 before facing Belgium in Rio de Janeiro on June 22 and Algeria in Curitiba four days later.

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