Injuries plague Cup teams

2010-06-05 15:15

The World Cup begins in a week and already the build-up has been

damaging for many teams.

Ivory Coast may have lost its star and captain, Didier Drogba, who

broke his right arm yesterday in a 2-0 warm-up victory over Japan.

England captain Rio Ferdinand is out after injuring ligaments in

his left knee during practice hours before Drogba was hurt.

Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo is resting at home in Milan with a

calf injury that could force him out of the event.

Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar missed practice for the second

straight day as he recovers from a back injury.

Injuries have run through nearly every team from every continent

well before the World Cup begins.

Nowhere is the agony stronger than in Ivory Coast. Drogba, one of

the world’s best strikers, led Chelsea to the English Premier League title this

season, scoring 29 goals.

But he told teammate Kolo Toure that he will miss the World Cup

after being hurt in the warm-up match in Sion, Switzerland.

“For him, he said, the World Cup is finished,” Toure said.

The 32-year-old Drogba was taken off 15 minutes into the game after

a high challenge by Japan defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka. He was then rushed to a


“We can just see on his face that he was sad, and when he is like

that you can’t ask more,” Toure said.

“It is difficult for us because he is such a really important


Team spokesperson Eric Kacou told The Associated Press that “it is

a fracture in his right arm”, but coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said the team hadn’t

officially ruled out its captain.

“We are not sure yet,” Eriksson said, adding Drogba’s participation

– the Ivorians open June 15 against Portugal – was “still a possibility”.

Tanaka said that he had had no intention of hurting Drogba.

“God and everybody in the stadium saw it was a normal challenge,”

said the Brazil-born defender, who was shown a yellow card.

“I do hope he gets better in time to play in the World Cup.”

Ferdinand, who was promoted to captain after off-field scandals

involving his England central defensive partner John Terry, hobbled out of a

hospital on crutches after hurting his knee while defending against striker

Emile Heskey during England’s first full training session in South Africa.

The English open against the United States in Rustenburg next

Saturday. Tottenham defender Michael Dawson, who suffered a cut on Tuesday, is

expected to replace Ferdinand in the squad.

“It came from a minor tackle during the training,” England coach

Fabio Capello said.


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