Hope for Drogba despite fracture
(PA) Friday 4 June 2010
The Ivorian Football Federation have confirmed that captain Didier Drogba has broken his arm but are still not ruling him out of the FIFA World Cup™.
Drogba was forced out of the Côte d'Ivoire's warm-up game against Japan in Sion today in the 17th minute, leaving the field clutching his right arm. There were fears the Chelsea striker would miss the FIFA World Cup but the federation are confident Drogba will be able to play some part in the finals."He can still play. We don't know if he will be able to play the first game - that depends on the verdict of the medical team. But he's definitely not out (of the tournament)"
.Ivorian FA spokesman
A statement released to Press Association Sport read: "He was taken urgently to a medical centre in Sion, where x-rays revealed a fracture in the player's right forearm area. Didier Drogba's state of health is the object of all the attention of the Elephants' medical staff and of distinguished specialists. The Ivory Coast Football Federation stress that the striker Didier Drogba has not, for the moment, been ruled out of the 2010 World Cup."
Reports suggest Drogba is currently undergoing surgery. Earlier in the day a national federation spokesman revealed they are awaiting further medical tests but claimed Drogba could even feature when they kick off their FIFA World Cup campaign against Portugal on 15 June.
"He's not at all out of the World Cup," he told Press Association Sport. "He can still play. "We don't know if he will be able to play the first game - that depends on the verdict of the medical team. But he's definitely not out (of the tournament)."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Rio's South African dreams dashed
(PA) Friday 4 June 2010
Rio Ferdinand was today ruled out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The new England skipper suffered a knee ligament injury at the end of a training session on the Three Lions' first full day in South Africa.
He was immediately sent to a local hospital for a scan by manager Fabio Capello, but the news has been bad enough to rule Ferdinand out of the entire tournament.
The FA confirmed the news this evening, with Ferdinand expected to be sidelined until the middle of next month."It is obviously bad news and everyone with the squad is very disappointed and sorry for Rio."England coach Fabio Capello
"Further to a scan arranged by the England medical staff immediately after training on Friday afternoon, Rio has been ruled out for four to six weeks and will therefore unfortunately miss the World Cup," said a statement.
"Tottenham Hotspur's Michael Dawson has been contacted today and will fly to South Africa on Friday evening," it went on. "Steven Gerrard will lead the England team as captain in the tournament."
Coach Fabio Capello was quick to stress the obvious disappointment at hearing the news. "It is obviously bad news and everyone with the squad is very disappointed and sorry for Rio," he said. "It was an accidental injury in training, but had nothing to do with the pitch."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Messi on a mission
(FIFA.com) Friday 4 June 2010
There is not much that has not already been said about Lionel Messi. Still only 22, the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year has won everything there is to win with his club Barcelona and is a familar face in the four corners of the globe, his public appearances attracting legions of admirers.
Yet, as he explains in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com, the Argentina No10 still has one dream left to fulfil: to win the FIFA World Cup™. As well as discussing that lofty objective, the magical Messi gives us his thoughts on the pressure that comes with spearheading La Albiceleste's challenge at South Africa 2010, and his desire to keep reaching new levels of excellence.No shortage of confidence
It was not so very long ago that Messi cut a somewhat shy and reserved figure whenever he appeared before the world's press. Those days seem to have gone, however. Now just as at ease in front of the cameras and microphones as he is on the ball the Argentinian has grown accustomed to being in the spotlight – a spotlight that has only intensified since he embarked on his meteoric rise to global stardom.
Despite having touched the pinnacle, Messi believes his best is still to come. "I don't think I've reached my peak yet," he says, his appetite for success undiminished. "My dream is to win the World Cup with Argentina and then to go and repeat what we've achieved at Barcelona, and to keep on going after that. My aim is to keep improving day by day. I want to keep on growing, I want to learn the things I don't know and to keep working on the things I do know so that I don't forget them.""My dream is to win the World Cup with Argentina and then to go and repeat what we've achieved at Barcelona, and to keep on going after that."Messi's ambitions know no bounds
At Germany 2006 he became the youngest ever Argentina player to score a FIFA World Cup finals goal, although he spent most of a frustrating tournament on the bench. Things promise to be very different in South Africa, where Messi will be the man La Albiceleste are banking on to spearhead their bid for a third world crown.
Not that the extra responsibility has altered his approach as he prepares for the tournament. "No, the fact is it doesn't," comes the unequivocal response. "I know I'm going to have more responsibility and more opportunities, but I'm just as excited and as keen as I was the last time. We are very confident we can have a good World Cup and lift the Trophy."
"The fact is I'm relaxed," he continues, shrugging off the obvious pressure that comes with wearing Argentina's No10 jersey. "I didn't go looking for any of this and I haven't tried to create any of it. The same thing happened to me in Barcelona and things have gone really well for me there. I hope I can play with the same style and character for the national side."
A new beginning
Argentina's journey to the world finals was an arduous one. In danger of elimination as the qualifying competition came to a close, they only booked their place in South Africa in their final game, yet Messi believes this will have no bearing on their performance in the next few weeks.
"The qualifiers are behind us now," he says. "For one reason or another we found it tough and we had to put a lot of hard work in. This is totally different, though. Argentina are always going to be one of the favourites. We've got some fantastic players and we are a great national team that's always right in there competing for trophies."
In Messi's eyes one of the main reasons he and his team-mates can go into the tournament in confident mood is the identity of their coach, Diego Maradona, a man who knows what it takes to win the biggest prize in football. "Exactly, we all know that," he says. "That's why I said that the qualifiers don't mean anything now. We have a lot of faith and desire, and Diego's experience is going to be crucial."
Though Argentina are favourites to top Group B in South Africa, the Barcelona man is taking nothing for granted. "There are no pushovers in the World Cup. I saw Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations and they are a typical African team with good and physically strong players. We played Côte d’Ivoire in Germany and they [Nigeria] will be a similar proposition. I haven't seen much of Korea Republic and Greece but to win games, you have to go out and play them. We have confidence in our ability, though, and we feel we can get through the group comfortably enough."
Before signing off, Messi gives one final indication of what makes him tick. "My dream is to win, come what may," he says with a steely look in his eyes. "I can picture us getting to the Final, winning it and holding the Trophy aloft. I haven't even thought about how we'll get there, but I'm convinced we're going to win it."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Deng consigns France to shock defeat
(AFP) Friday 4 June 2010
A vicious free-kick by Deng Zhuoxiang earned China a 1-0 win over France on Friday as Les Bleus slumped to a dispiriting defeat in their last 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ warm-up game.
France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was completely bamboozled by the dipping trajectory of Deng's 68th-minute strike. The hosts largely controlled the game but did not begin to threaten until they had gone behind and they sign off their pre-tournament preparations with a win, a draw and a loss after beating Costa Rica 2-1 and tying 1-1 with Tunisia.
The 2006 runners-up travel to South Africa on Saturday and begin their FIFA World Cup campaign against Uruguay on 11 June. "I'm disappointed. Losing a match, even a friendly, even a World Cup preparation match, is never nice," said France coach Raymond Domenech. "Now we have to analyse the match. I'm disappointed, particularly for the players and the public. But the World Cup is not today. It starts on June 11."
Playing on the French island of Reunion for the first time in their history, France persisted with the 4-3-3 formation that they have adopted since the start of their pre-finals training camp and, as in their last two matches, the majority of their best play came down the left."We have to analyse the match. I'm disappointed, particularly for the players and the public. But the World Cup is not today. It starts on June 11."France coach Raymond Domenech
Florent Malouda had a sight of goal in the first minute after his run down the inside-left channel was spotted by Nicolas Anelka but his low centre was diverted away from goal by China goalkeeper Zeng Cheng's left leg. Franck Ribery and Yoann Gourcuff both had shots from distance saved, while William Gallas saw an instinctive backheel ruled out for offside.
Gallas headed narrowly wide from a corner later in the first half but for all their territorial dominance, France were often careless in possession and lacked a cutting edge. Ribery was the source of France's most purposeful attacking play, but with just under half an hour to play he ceded his place to Andre-Pierre Gignac.
Thierry Henry and Abou Diaby also entered the fray but it was China who broke the deadlock when Deng embarrassed Lloris from 35 yards with his side's first shot on target of the game.
Zeng then had to save twice in quick succession from Govou and Henry, while Henry headed wide from Diaby's pass and Gignac curled a low effort straight into Zeng's midriff. The China goalkeeper thwarted France three times in the closing stages, pulling off good saves to deny Diaby, Gourcuff and, bravely, Henry, before Gallas miscued in front of an open goal in injury time.