SHORT CORNERS – JUNE 7 – INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS, NOTES AND RUMORS

SHORT CORNERS – JUNE 7 – INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS, NOTES AND RUMORS

INJURIES PLAGUE WORLD CUP

It was a black weekend in many World Cup camps as Rio Ferdinand, Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben and Andrea Pirlo were all injured a week before the start of the World Cup.

More than just ‘big names’ some of the players that went down over the weekend were key to their teams success and will not be easily replaced

Ferdinand who was to be captain for England and a staple on the backline, suffered a knee ligament injury in training and will join David Beckham in the VIP box to watch the opening match with the United States June 12. Ferdinand has already been rep[laced in the squad by Michael Dawson.

Arguably the best striker in the world, Ivory Coast’s Drogba dislocated his elbow in a friendly against Japan on Friday. Coming off his best season ever, the Chelsea striker was the key element and talisman for the Elephants as they prepared for a tough Group G battle against Brazil, Portugal and North Korea.

Though Arjen Robben of the Netherlands has not been replaced in the squad and will be struggling to find fitness so he can contribute in ‘the Oranje’ progress far into the tournament, he will be ruled out of the early Netherlands matches after sustaining an injury during the teams World Cup tune-up match against Hungary..

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo is also struggling for fitness but will not contribute in Sunday’s opening match against Paraguay. Pirlo, who scored one of the penalty’s that sent Italy through to their third World Cup in 2006, is doubtful for the Azzurri after suffering a calf injury in Thursday’s 2-1 friendly defeat to Mexico.

BERBATOV STILL SEEKS MAN U ESCAPE

Sir Alex Ferguson has said that Dimtar Berbatov will remain at Manchester United next season, though the striker is unhappy at the club.

Having had a rough season at Old Trafford hasn’t negatively impacted the Bulgarian International’s value. In Germany, both Bayern Munich and Shalke 04 Seem interested in Berbatov’s services, while reports over the weekend have former Spurs forward on the shopping list of both Milan and Juventus. United, according to Eurosport, is looking to alleviate some payroll and the two Serie A teams are looking for someone who can provide goals.

MAN CITY SIGN BOATENG

German International Jerome Boateng was signed by Manchester City last week for $14.5 million from Bundesliga side Hamburg

“I am really looking forward to the World Cup and then to joining City,” the 21-year-old said on the teams website, mcfc.co.uk, “I spoke at length with Roberto Mancini and he impressed me with his plans for the team in the coming seasons. It was a very good conversation.”

Boateng, who is in South Africa training with Germany ahead of the World Cup, believes his versatility is the key to being able to contribute to Man City’s success.

“I believe my strengths are my pace and reading of the game. I can play at full back on either side but I prefer the central defensive position.”

BAD OMEN AT NIGERIA-NORTH KOREA FRIENDLY?

The 2010 World Cup, the first on African soil, suffered a major setback on Sunday when at least 20 people were injured, 13 of them hospitalized, including one policeman who was seriously wounded in Johannesburg after thousands of fans stampeded to get into the friendly tune-up match between Nigeria and North Korea.

Fans fell in the crush of people trying to enter the Makhulong Stadium in the northern part of the city. The stadium, which is not one scheduled to host any matches at the tournament, has a capacity of about 10,000. World Cup security measures were not present.

“The crowd just overpowered me and I went down,” a bleeding fan told reporters. “I fell down and people just fell over me.”

“I thought I was dying. I was at the bottom,” said another fan

“FIFA made the tickets free and now look,” said a police officer, who refused to identified, “FIFA wanted them free.”.

Hopefully the incident is the last of any kind for Africa’s first World Cup.

WORLD CUP TUNE-UP’S
Saturday, June 5

Algeria 1-0 UAE
Cameroon 3-4 Serbia
Denmark 0-1 South Africa
Ghana 1-0 Latvia
Honduras 0-3 Romania
Italy 1-1 Switzerland
Netherlands 6-1 Hungary
Slovakia 3-0 Costa Rica
USA 3-1 Australia

Sunday, June 6
Nigeria 3-1 North Korea

Monday, June 7
Tanzania v Brazil
Portugal v Mozambique
Spain v Poland

Wednesday, June 9
Chile v New Zealand

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