Mexico beat Ecuador 3-1 in a friendly in Dallas on Saturday but the win was overshadowed by a broken leg for Luis Montes that has ruled the midfielder out of the World Cup finals.
Ecuador’s squad may also be impacted by the incident, with midfielder Segundo Castillo carried off the pitch with a suspected knee injury.
Just two minutes after the livewire Montes had put Mexico ahead, he and Castillo slid into a 50-50 challenge and it was quickly apparent the Mexican had suffered a serious injury.
Montes was carried off on a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital with Mexico coach Miguel Herrera later confirming he had suffered a broken tibia and fibula.
“It’s the tibia and fibula and he’ll have to have an operation which won’t be at all easy,” Herrera told the post-match news conference.
Some Mexican players were in tears after watching Montes writhe in agony while he was receiving treatment on the field - and that was not the end of El Tri’s injury torment.
Herrera was also concerned about a foot injury suffered by captain and central defender Rafa Marquez who was also sent to hospital for further examination although he later said it was not too serious.
“We’ll wait, in fact he could move his foot very well with a little pain but there were no signs of anything worse... (but) we must rule out everything and not take risks,” Herrera told TV Azteca at the end of the match.
At the tournament Mexico will face Cameroon, Brazil and Croatia in Group A, while Ecuador are in Group E with Switzerland, France and Honduras.