The Czech Republic will be without its best attacker for the World Cup qualifying playoff against Sweden after Patrik Schick was ruled out on Monday because of injury. (More Football News)
The striker was selected in the Czechs’ squad last week despite having not played since February 18 because of a calf problem.
Schick did not play for Bayer Leverkusen in the German league over the weekend and the Czech national team has now said he will not be linking up with the squad.
Goalkeeper Jiří Pavlenka is also out because of injury, the team said, so Milan Heča and Václav Jurečka have been called up as replacements.
The winner of the game between Sweden and the Czech Republic on Thursday will face Poland on March 29 for a spot at the tournament in Qatar.
Schick has 17 goals in 33 internationals so his absence is a big blow for Czech Republic coach Jaroslav Šilhavý, whose entire first-choice defense from last year’s European Championship is not available.