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The Socceroos star's knee injury could not have come at a worse time, and it means others in the national side must step up to the plate.

For Robbie Kruse, it is obviously disastrous.

A serious knee injury, a World Cup year, the prime of his footballing life, a golden opportunity lost.

For Australia in Brazil, how much difference will it make?

Depends on how you expect the Socceroos to perform.

The headlines will scream we are doomed with the attacker now gone. Truth is, we were probably up against it anyway - Kruse or no Kruse. Still, it is certainly no help.

Kruse, 25, is one of the Socceroos' rare game-changers.

His masterclass in the 4-0 World Cup qualifier win over Jordan in Melbourne last June highlighted what all keen Australian soccer followers knew, and elevated him in the wider consciousness among those whose interest in the Socceroos occurs four-yearly.

It was a showcase of all that is wonderful about an A-League product made good in one of the world's finest football leagues.

Speed, unpredictability, the killer cross, a flair for the unorthodox, and his ability to draw regular fouls and importantly yellow cards from perplexed defenders.

His performances in the Bundesliga for previous club Fortuna Dusseldorf earned him enough respect from his peers to be judged Professional Footballers' Australia 2013 player of the year.

Now at German giants Bayer Leverkusen, Kruse was starting to make major inroads before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee at training.

It should be remembered that right now, no Socceroo is playing at a bigger club than Kruse.

There is no doubt he would have been a starter under coach Ange Postecoglou if available for Australia against Chile, Holland and Spain.

Now he's not, it heightens the importance of the other two Socceroos' possible match-winners - Tim Cahill and Tom Rogic.

Rogic's pending move back to the A-League for regular football now cannot come quick enough.

While he plays a different position to Kruse, his skillset and the point of difference he provides becomes far more critical for his country. So too his fitness.

For the Socceroos in Brazil, players with the X-factor who can win you the game against the odds are crucial, because we have so few.

Kruse was one of those.