Didier Drogba, and the rest of the world, will be awaiting a ruling by FIFA Tuesday morning to decide if the Ivory Coast striker will be allowed to sport a protective cast in the Elephants Group G opener.

“There has been a Fifa meeting – we will know later.” Ivory Coast manager Sven-Goran Eriksson said on Monday.

This is yet another complication in the roller-coaster story of Drogba’s World Cup. Suffering a broken arm in a friendly tune-up just days prior to the World Cup, initial reports had the Chelsea striker out of the World Cup. There followed talk of an emergency surgery procedure that could see Drogba return if the elephants advanced farther into the tournament, then as recently as yesterday Drogba was being penciled in to start in the teams Group G opening showdown with Portugal.

Now comes word that FIFA will have the final say in whether or not Drogba will be able to play with the lightweight cast.

Drogba is a talismanic presence for Ivory Coast, having scored 44 goals in 69 matches for the African side.


Chile striker Humbeto Suazo and Honduras forward David Suazo are both batteling fitness ahead of the two nations’ clash in the Group H opener.

Chile’s Suazo was top scorer in the South American qualifiers with 10 goals but injured his right thigh two weeks ago in a friendly World Cup tune-up.

The initial prognosis was that the Zaragoza striker would be sidelined for three weeks, but Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa said he might be available for Wednesday’s opener.

The Honduran Suazo may not be so lucky, though he is hopefully.

“My heart tells me that I will play,” Suazo said over the weekend.

Honduras coach Reinaldo Rueda, is not so opptomistic, and will not make a decision on Suazo until Tuesday.

“From here to Wednesday, I can improve more and then he can give a more decisive answer,” Suazo said. “He has to see me at a certain point for me to be used.”


United States goalkeeper Tim Howard was passed fit after suffering bruised ribs from a collision with England forward Emile Heskey. The collision in the first half the both teams Group C opener didn’t prevent Howard from completing the match.

“After a physical examination this morning, the medical staff has determined there is no need to conduct additional testing on Tim Howard.” Read a US Soccer released statement. “He continues to make substantial improvement and is expected to be available for the match against Slovenia.”

There were fears that the injuries could require further medical attention, but those fears seem to be allayed as the team prepares for Friday’s second Group C match with Slovenia with their ‘keeper in place.

“Having an excellent ‘keeper in a tournament like this is essential,” U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo said during a news conference on Sunday.

“Anytime you’re in a big game like that and you get an injury, there is no chance anybody’s taking you off that field. It speaks for Tim’s character.”

Italian ‘keeper Gianlucca Buffon didn’t have the luxury of going the 90 minutes when he began suffering from spasms in his sciatic nerve during the first half of Italy’s Group F opener against Paraguay.

“During the warm-up Buffon felt a pain in his back and after the first half he couldn’t continue,” said Italy coach Marcelo Lippi. “It was a big blow. We lost a substitution that we could have used.”

“I don’t know how bad the injury is or how long it will take him to recover. The doctors will have to tell us that.”

Buffon was replaced by backup Federico Marchetti at halftime of the match, but hopes to be fully fit for the Azzurri’s second match against New Zealand in six days time.

Tests will continue to be taken on the 32-year-old ‘keeper, but team doctors were quietly confident that Buffon would be available on Sunday.

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