Ireland skipper Robbie Keane is out of the World Cup qualifier against Germany after succumbing to an Achilles injury.
The 32-year-old was unable to play a full part in training in Malahide on Thursday morning and the decision has been taken that he will not be involved in the game at the Aviva Stadium on Friday, although he has not given up hope of making Tuesday's trip to the Faroe Islands.
The Football Association of Ireland confirmed the development via its Twitter feed, saying: "Robbie Keane has been ruled out of the Germany game with an Achilles injury. Will hopefully be fit for Faroes."
Keane, who is understood to have aggravated a long-standing injury in a training ground challenge with defender Paul McShane earlier this week, did not train on Wednesday morning either, but assistant manager Marco Tardelli was confident he would be able to play.
However, that possibility has evaporated, leaving manager Giovanni Trapattoni to draw up another plan. The Italian had been expected to field the LA Galaxy forward, who has 54 senior international goals to his name, as a lone striker against the Germans.
That indication had prompted a media discussion about Keane's ability to perform that role and an assessment of the relative merits of the other frontmen in the squad, Shane Long, Jon Walters and Simon Cox and their suitability for the task.
Trapattoni is expected to employ a three-man central midfield combination in a bid to deny Germany time and space in the middle of the park. However, Tardelli hinted that one of the wide positions would be filled by a second striker.
If the 73-year-old Trapattoni opts for that approach, he now faces a decision of which of his remaining frontmen to deploy furthest forward with Long boasting speed and strength, Walters perhaps the most physical of the three and Cox able to stretch defences with his pace.
Trapattoni has had a difficult week as the casualty count has mounted with Sean St Ledger, Glenn Whelan, Kevin Doyle, James McClean and now Keane having all joined Richard Dunne on the sidelines.
The FAI later confirmed that Keane will remain with the squad to undergo treatment with a view to being fit for the game in Torshavn.