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Inter Milan could be without defender Sime Vrsaljko for their Champions League opener against Tottenham next week, according to reports in Italy.

Vrsaljko, a key figure in Inter’s back line, injured his knee while playing for Croatia during the international break and could be out for a while, according to Italian outlet Calcio Mercato.

The right-back was forced off after just 20 minutes of his country’s 6-0 defeat to Spain in the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday night – Spain scored all six of their goals after Vrsaljko had departed.

The result came as a surprise given Spain’s poor summer showing and the fact Croatia reached the World Cup final in Russia, only to lose to Hugo Lloris and France.

Whether Vrsaljko’s absence had anything to do with Croatia’s collapse is up for debate.

Spurs and Inter will meet in the Champions League for the first time since Gareth Bale tore the Italian giants apart in the 2010/11 group stages.

The sides also came up against each other in the 2012/13 Europa League knockout stages – Tottenham went through on away goals after giving up a 3-0 first leg lead.

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