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Nigerian midfielder Jon Obi Mikel has been ruled out opf the World Cup with a knee injury ((JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images))

Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel will miss the World Cup because he has not fully recovered from left knee surgery.

The Chelsea player had sat out World Cup warmup matches against Saudi Arabia and Colombia, but had been expected to play Sunday against South Korea.

"It is the same knee and I did not want to risk any further damage, also I think it is in the best interest of the team for me to withdraw rather than waste a slot," the 23-year-old Mikel said on Chelsea’s website.

"I wish the team good luck and I know that they will surprise people."

Nigerian team officials said Mikel will be replaced by Ideye Brown of French club Sochaux.