Zenit's Alexander Kokorin third Russian player likely to miss World Cup

MOSCOW -- Alexander Kokorin is likely to become the third player from Russia's national team to miss the World Cup in his home country through injury after he tore ligaments in his right knee.

Kokorin's club team, Zenit St Petersburg, said he tore ligaments in his knee in the opening minutes of the Europa League round-of-16 defeat against RB Leipzig on Thursday.

Defenders Viktor Vasin and Giorgi Jikia have already sustained injuries that are likely to rule them out of the World Cup.

Kokorin, carried off on a motorised cart in the eighth minute, will fly to Rome for further medical treatment, possibly including surgery, the team added.

The striker has earned 48 caps for Russia, scoring 12 goals, and his absence likely leaves Krasnodar's Fyodor Smolov as their top striker for the tournament.

Kokorin briefly fell out of favour with the national team when he and midfielder Pavel Mamaev were filmed partying in Monaco shortly after Russia's group-stage exit from Euro 2016.

Mamaev has not featured for Russia since the incident, and Kokorin was not selected for the Confederations Cup last summer, which he said caused him to work harder.

Russia play Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay in the group stage of the tournament, which starts June 14.