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Injury Woes Mount for World Cup Teams

With a week until the opening of the 2010 World Cup, recent unfortunate news has been disclosed that England defender and Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand will miss the tournament while Ivory Coast and Chelsea scoring machine Didier Drogba most likely will be unavailable also, due to recent injury.  The US Men’s National Team also reports that another EPL player, forward Jozy Altidore, a Hull City loanee, has sprained an ankle and will most likely miss Saturday’s friendly with Australia.

Ferdinand, the English captain, injured his left knee during England’s first day of training in South Africa.  The 31-year old will be out four to six weeks after an injury-racked campaign for Manchester United that saw Ferdinand only play in 12 games.  England coach Fabio Capello will most likely look to Tottenham defender Ledley King or West Ham United’s Matthew Upson as replacements for Ferdinand, although King has been plagued with injuries during his career with Spurs.  World Cup teams are allowed to replace injured players on their roster up to opening day of the tournament.  It seems likely that another Tottenham defender, Michael Dawson, would take Ferdinand’s spot on the roster and that Liverpool star Steven Gerrard will assume the captaincy for England.  The loss of Rio Ferdinand’s experience is certainly discouraging for the English team.  England plays in Group C against the United States, Slovenia and Algeria.

Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast suffered a fractured right arm in a friendly against Japan.  The 32 year-old was injured early in the match during a challenge with Japan’s Marcu Tulio Tanaka.  Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson absolved the Japanese player of any intent to cause injury, and teammates are hoping against hope that Drogba can somehow find a way to see action in the World Cup.  Drogba scored 29 goals for Chelsea this past season as they claimed the EPL crown, and his inability to play would be devastating to the ambitions of his team, as they are in a very tough group with Portugal and Brazil.  The Korean DPR rounds out the group, and isn’t expected to do much, but the team is very much a mystery to the rest of the world.

Young Jozy Altidore of the USMNT is on day to day status after suffering a mild right ankle sprain.  The forward, who scored in last Saturday’s friendly against Turkey,  will probably miss this Saturday’s Australia match or, at the most, play very sparingly.  Even though his injury is obviously not as serious as Ferdinand’s or Drogba’s, it was hoped that this final friendly match for the US would give Altidore more playing time with Robbie Findley,Herculez Gomez and/or Edson Buddle, all of whom are lacking in international experience and time on the pitch with Altidore.  The USMNT opens its World Cup group play against England on June 12. 

Earlier injuries to Chelsea midfielders Michael Ballack of Germany and Michael Essien of Ghana will have signifigant impacts on their national teams’s fortunes in the 2010 World Cup.

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