How injuries robbed the great game

2014-06-15 15:02

What would a World Cup best XI be without the trickery of Franck Ribéry, the goal-scoring prowess of Colombia’s Radamel Falcao and the overlapping of Nigeria’s Uwa Echiéjilé?

The global soccer spectacle currently under?way in Brazil will not be the same after injuries robbed the tournament of these and other influential players.

Most of these missing stars would have easily made it to the best team of the competition.?Their absence is also a loss in investment for their countries as their respective nations had planned their campaign around these individuals leading up to the showpiece that kicked off on Thursday.

But as much as supporters are also disappointed, they must be reminded that some of the greatest players have been born out of others’ setbacks.

The prospect of someone unexpected taking centre stage and taking the tournament by storm will raise levels of expectations and excitement.

A lot was expected from Ribéry (31) as he would have been out to prove a point following a disastrous 2010 World Cup, but the Frenchman was left out of the squad owing to a recurring back injury.

Moreover, many felt he deserved to win the Ballon d'Or after helping his club Bayern Munich lift last year’s Uefa Champions League. But he was pipped by Cristiano Ronaldo and could have used the World Cup to prove that he was in fact the more deserving candidate.

After helping the Netherlands reach the final of the 2010 edition, pacy Dutch winger Rafael van der Vaart (31) will be one of the notable absentees in Brazil after picking up a calf injury at training last month.

Germany’s coach Joachim Löw has been forced to juggle his team around after attacking midfielder Marco Reus was ruled out with an ankle injury last week.?The 25-year-old has been in top form for Borussia Dortmund.

Despite intensive attempts to get Falcao (28) back in time for the World Cup, the Colombian striker was unable to regain full fitness following a serious knee injury, and was eventually dropped.

South Africa is also nursing the pain of losing its sole representative in Brazil in referee Daniel Bennett, who was injured in a routine training session at the Zico Centre in Rio this week. He?was among the list of match officials.

Hopefully, the event will leave us with everlasting memories of other players coming to the party in the absence of some of the world’s top stars.

Graphic – Injured soccer stars

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