Lafferty out of Northern Ireland squad

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty will miss his country's World Cup qualifier with Russia on Wednesday due to an Achilles injury.

The 25-year-old suffered the problem while playing for his Italian club side Palermo and has now withdrawn from Michael O'Neill's squad.

His absence will be a major blow to the Irish, with Lafferty - who has 35 caps and nine goals for his country - having been set to lead the line against the Russians.

O'Neill's side currently sit second bottom of UEFA qualifying Group F and are yet to win a game.

Their hopes of reaching the finals in Brazil in 2014 are already over, but by contrast, Russia have been beaten only once and have conceded just a single goal in their qualifying campaign so far. 

Fabio Capello's men can go top of their group with a win at Windsor Park, with Portugal not in competitive action until September.


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