JUNE 8 – SHORT CORNERS: INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS NOTES AND RUMORS

JUNE 8 – SHORT CORNERS: INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS NOTES AND RUMORS

INJURED STARS DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
There may be good news for some of the high profile players at the 2010 World Cup who were injured over the weekend and some may even be able to play in the tournament.

Netherlands forward Arjen Robben is planning to travel to South Africa in hopes of joining his Dutch teammates. The Bayern Munich star has a small tear in his left hamstring but is hoping intense physiotherapy will help him take part in South Africa.

Speaking after his first session, Robben told reporters “It is impossible to say whether that (a return) will only be about four days or a week away. It was tedious exercises. But we will do everything to
get fit. I’m very hopeful.”

Meanwhile, Didier Drogba has undergone successful surgery on his broken arm and was due to link up with his Ivory Coast teammates yesterday.

Drogba sustained the injury in a friendly against Japan on Friday and was immediately sent for an operation in Bern, Switzerland.

A team spokesman said the surgery was a success, though no time frame for the striker’s return has been set.
Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios should be ready for the teams Group H opener against Chile on June 16, according to Honduran media reports.

Palacios, who was carried off the pitch during a warm-up match against Romania in Austria on Saturday, was taken to as hospital for an injured groin claimed “it’s nothing serious”.

Danish forward Nicklas Bendtner trained apart from his teammates in his attempts to beat his own groin problem ahead of Denmark’s Group E game against the Netherlands on June 14.

“I’ve been training hard with the physical trainer and I’m one of those with the best heart rate in the squad,” Bendtner said. “The football side of things shouldn’t be any problem.”

Park Ji-Sung is back to full fitness and ready for the Republic of Korea’s Group B opener against Greece on Saturday.

The Manchester United midfielder sat out their final warm-up match against Spain last week with a minor thigh injury but has returned to training without experiencing any further problems, according to South Korea coach Huh Jung-Moo.

FIFA DENIES RESPONSIBILITY FOR FAN CRUSH
FIFA say they are not responsible for the stampede outside a stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday that left 16 fans injured before a match between Nigeria and North Korea.

Free tickets for a match, a World Cup warm-up game, were distributed outside the 10,000-capacity Makhulong Stadium in the Johannesburg. The Nigerian FA said the match was played at the stadium only because FIFA
had “taken control” of alternative venues.

FIFA general secretary, Jerome Valcke, said the rule that teams could not use World Cup stadiums for warm-up matches did not prevent them using others throughout the country.

“We have been criticized very often for not distributing tickets on the match day at the stadium,” Valcke said.

“What happened there proves we are right to say that you should never distribute tickets at the stadium on the match day. It’s one of our principles.”

“We regret the incident that has taken place.” FIFA president Sepp Blatter said. “I am sure and you are sure this is [a wake-up call] but this will not happen in any match of the World Cup.”

INTER CLOSE IN ON RAFA
“The deal is more or less done,” Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti said about his attempted appointment of former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez to the same post at the San Siro.

Inter are searching for a replacement for Jose Mourinho who left the side for Real Madrid after winning the Champions League last month. Moratti believes the last few details will be sorted out in the next 24 hours.

Benitez left Liverpool by mutual consent last week and he immediately became Moratti’s number one choice.

“We decisively targeted Benitez from the beginning and he is the person we consider most useful for the continuity of Inter at the same level.”

REAL MADRID PREPARED TO MAKE MOVES
Inter defender Maicon and Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard are on the hit list of Real Madrid this summer, according to rumors.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, still flushed from his swoop for Jose ‘special one’ Mourinho, continues to flirt with the Spanish media regarding big names he want to sign.

Less sensational but still massive moves for Benfica midfielder Angel Di Maria and Sevilla midfielder Jesus Navas are also in the works, though Perez was a little less vague regarding them. “They are two players who I also like very much. We will work this summer to incorporate those great players who complete the roster that
we have today.”
WORLD CUP TUNE-UPS

Monday, June 7
Tanzania 1-5 Brazil

Tuesday, June 8
Portugal v Mozambique
Spain v Poland

Wednesday, June 9
Chile v New Zealand

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