Soccer-Perisic ruled out of Croatia World Cup qualifiers

ZAGREB, March 11 (Reuters) - Croatia midfielder Ivan Perisic will miss their World Cup Group A qualifiers at home to Serbia on March 22 and away to Wales four days later with a knee injury he sustained playing for his Bundesliga club Wfl Wolfsburg.

The 24-year-old winger ruptured his left knee ligaments in Wolfsburg's 5-2 win at Freiburg on Saturday and Croatia's coach Igor Stimac said he would not call up a replacement for the versatile player, who is expected to be sidelined for a month.

"This is why we have a squad of 26 players for the upcoming two games," Stimac told daily Vecernji List on Monday.

Croatia top the group alongside Belgium with 10 points from four games each, six ahead of third-placed Serbia.

The match between bitter rivals from the former Yugoslavia will be their first as independent nations and played under tight security in Dinamo Zagreb's Maksimir stadium.

In an effort to allay fears of potential crowd trouble, both football federations have waived tickets for away fans with the reverse fixture set for Sept. 6 in Belgrade.

(Reporting by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Martyn Herman) (