Fifa World Cup injuries latest: Rojo leaves training early

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Argentina defender Marcos Rojo cut short training on Friday with pains in his left shin and right ankle but should still be fine for the World Cup final, Argentine sports newspaper Ole reported.

The squad were holding a final training session at their base in Belo Horizonte before flying to Rio de Janeiro on Saturday for the World Cup final against Germany the next day.

Rojo, 24, who has been a key component of Argentina's miserly defense and also grabbed a goal off his knee against Nigeria, left his team mates early, the newspaper said.

Friday's training session was closed-door, and there was no word from Argentina's team spokesmen of a scare for Rojo.

Ole said he was probably being protected by cautious coaches and would hopefully not be at risk of missing Sunday's game at the Maracana stadium.

"He wouldn't miss the final for anything ... it's not the case of a 'red alert'," it said, in a play on Rojo's name which means red.

It will be no consolation to Neymar and other injured players, but there has been a 40 per cent reduction in the number of both minor and serious injuries at the World Cup compared to previous tournaments, Fifa said on Friday.

The reasons for that, according to Fifa's medical committee is because there is now less contact between players than there was in previous finals and tougher sanctions for fouls that lead to injuries.

A total of 95 injuries have been recorded in the competition so far with seven "severe" injuries including Brazilian forward Neymar's broken vertebra and Mexican defender Hector Moreno's broken leg.

Injuries are deemed "severe" if they sideline the player for four weeks or more.

In a statement on Friday Jiri Dvorak, Fifa's chief medical officer said: "The medical committee believes there is less contact and fouls, more sanctions for fouls that cause injuries, and continuous improvements by referees from 1990 onwards in terms of education and fair play."

Statistically speaking, he said, "In 1998 and 2002 there were 2.7 per cent injuries per game and now we are down to 1.6."

Netherlands striker Robin van Persie is suffering from stomach problems and has been training apart from the squad ahead of Wednesday's World Cup semi-final against Argentina, coach Louis van Gaal said.

Van Persie has scored three of the Netherlands' 12 goals at the tournament, although he has not found the net in their last three games.

"He has some stomach problems, some intestinal problems, so it's best not to train him," Van Gaal told reporters at the Corinthians arena on Tuesday.

Angel Di Maria has been ruled out of Argentina's semi-final against the Netherlands but fellow forward Sergio Aguero has recovered from a muscle strain and is fit to play, the team doctor said on Sunday.

Aguero looked comfortable in training at the Argentine camp, but Di Maria was missing and undergoing intensive treatment after hobbling out of their 1-0 quarter-final win over Belgium.

In their first semi-final since 1990, the South Americans play the Netherlands in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

"Angel has a Grade 1 injury. Of course he won't play in Argentina's next game. After that, we'll evaluate the situation day-by-day," team doctor Daniel Martinez told reporters.

"Sergio has practiced three times. He's ready to play."

Aguero missed two games due to a muscle strain but on the evidence of Sunday's afternoon training session at their camp in Belo Horizonte, the speedy forward should at least make the substitutes bench.

DESPERATE APPEAL

Brazil launched a desperate appeal to have skipper Thiago Silva's ban for their World Cup semi-final against Germany overturned on Sunday but Argentine hopes of seeing Angel Di Maria in action were ended by injury.

Doctors confirmed Di Maria will miss the semi-final against the Netherlands because of a thigh problem but did not rule the winger out of being fit for the final should Argentina prevail in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

"Angel has a Grade 1 injury. Of course he won't play in Argentina's next game. After that, we'll evaluate the situation day-by-day," team doctor Daniel Martinez told reporters.

Brazil captain Thiago Silva was also expected to miss the semi-finals after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament in the 2-1 win over Colombia in the last eight on Friday.

AGUERO TRAINS

Argentina striker Sergio Aguero trained normally on Sunday and looked fully recovered from injury, but fellow forward Angel Di Maria was missing amid speculation his World Cup is over.

Argentina are juggling options ahead of Wednesday's semi-final with the Netherlands in Sao Paulo.

Team doctor Daniel Martinez was due to give an update on both Di Maria, who hobbled out of Argentina's 1-0 quarter-final win against Belgium with an injured thigh, and Aguero, recovering from a muscle strain, later on Sunday.

On the evidence of an afternoon training session at the Argentine camp in Belo Horizonte, the fast and powerful Aguero looks at least fit enough for a place on the substitutes' bench and should make an appearance after missing two games.

But Argentine media are speculating Di Maria, who was receiving a scan on Sunday, may not play again in this tournament. He is the South Americans' most creative player after captain Lionel Messi.

Di Maria was forced off after 33 minutes of their 1-0 win at the Brasilia national stadium and various media outlets suggested he would be unable to play again in Brazil even though the injury was not thought to be too serious.

Di Maria, who scored the 118th minute winner against Switzerland in the last 16, was replaced by Enzo Perez on Saturday.

Perez is likely to remain in the team for their semi-final on Wednesday against the Netherlands in Sao Paulo should Di Maria be ruled out.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said the player would visit doctors on Sunday.

"Angel has a problem in front of his right thigh and he is going to do an analysis tomorrow," the coach told reporters.

NEYMAR

Brazil forward Neymar has been ruled out of the World Cup after fracturing his vertebrae in the closing stages of the 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia on Friday, his team said.

Lasmar told reporters Neymar suffered a fracture in the third verterbra of his back.

"The exam showed he suffered a fracture of the third vertebra" in his back, Lasmar said. Neymar was carried off grimacing in agony after a heavy challenge from Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga toward the end of Brazil's 2-1 win in Fortaleza.

"It's not serious in the sense that it doesn't need surgery, but he'll need to immobilise it to recover," team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said after the player had been taken to hospital.

"Unfortunately, he's not going to be able to play," he said, adding he expected the recovery period to take at least a few weeks."

Neymar, who has scored four goals in the tournament to lead Brazil's bid for a sixth world title, went down after a challenge by Colombia's Juan Zuniga in the 88th minute and looked to be in pain.

His side will face Germany in the semi-final in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday but the absence of Brazil's poster boy is a major blow for the hosts.

The 22-year-old, who plays for Spanish club Barcelona, had to be carried off on a stretcher and was replaced by defender Henrique for the final minutes of the game.

"We lost Neymar on that play, and based on what I've seen, I think it's going to be tough for him to play," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari had earlier told reporters.

Many Brazil fans had gathered outside the Fortaleza hospital, shouting "Forca Neymar" (be strong Neymar) as the player was being wheeled into the building.

Brazil will also be without captain Thiago Silva when they take on Germany, after he was booked on Friday and misses the game through suspension.

Neymar also received support from the country's president, Dilma Rousseff, who tweeted: "Like all Brazil I am one of those cheering from the sidelines for our star Neymar to get better."

Neymar, who has scored four goals in the tournament to lead Brazil's attack, went down after a challenge by Colombia's Juan Zuniga in the 88th minute and looked to be in pain.

He had to be carried off on a stretcher and was replaced by defender Henrique.

Brazilian television said Neymar was taken straight to hospital without elaborating on the nature of his injury

Brazil will face Germany in the semi-final in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday without captain Thiago Silva who was booked on Friday and misses the game through suspension.

MILD FLU

Seven Germany players are suffering mild flu symptoms ahead of the quarter-final match against France on Friday, coach Joachim Loew said in a German radio interview without identifying the players.

"Seven players have somehow come down with slight cases of the flu," Loew was quoted telling Germany's ARD radio. He said that most had "throat aches" but did not reveal their names.

"As a result, it's too early to make any final decisions about the lineup," Loew added.

Defender Mat Hummels missed Germany's round of 16 match against Algeria on Monday due to a fever. He said on Wednesday he had recovered and posted a picture of himself sitting on the beach.

Reserve midfielder Christoph Kramer was suffering from a case of the chills on Wednesday and was the only player who did not take part in the training session, said assistant coach Andreas Koepke, who added all other players were fit and ready to travel to Rio de Janeiro for Friday's match

Loew has said that the travel across Brazil and different climate zones for their four matches so far as well as matches in tropical heat, a heavy downpour and then in chilly Porto Alegre - along with air conditioning - had taken their toll.

"I hope they're all doing well now," Loew said.

He added: "It's not all that bad at the moment. I don't want to dramatise it."

But Loew said that Hummels condition had actually deteriorated.

"Mats Hummels suffered a negative setback on the second day," Loew said.

GOOD PROGRESS

Neymar is making good progress in his recovery from thigh and knee knocks ahead of Friday's World Cup quarter-final against Colombia, Brazil's team doctor said on Tuesday.

The Barcelona forward came out of last Saturday's last-16 win against Chile battered and bruised but has undergone treatment at Brazil's Teresopolis training base and will train normally on Wednesday.

"He took a blow to the left thigh and the right knee, but he has worked alongside the rest of the squad. He is recovering very well," doctor Jose Luiz Runco told journalists.

Brazil star Neymar will be fit to face Colombia in Friday's World Cup quarter-final in Fortaleza, a spokesman for the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) confirmed on Monday.

"It is not a problem for the game. He is undergoing treatment for a heavy knock to the (right) knee and another lesser knock to the (left) hamstring," CBF Communications Director Rodrigo Paiva told journalists at Brazil's training base in Teresopolis.

"It might reduce his involvement in training, but there is no risk for the game."

DUTCH BLOW

Injured Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong's World Cup appears to be over, according to a source at the Netherlands Football Federation.

The 29-year-old AC Milan player suffered a groin injury early on in the Netherlands' last 16 victory over Mexico on Sunday.

"It dosn't look good" a federation spokesman said after de Jong underwent a medical examination on Monday.

Further tests will be conducted in a few days ahead of the Netherlands quarter-final date with Costa Rica on Saturday.

De Jong came off the field against Mexico in Fortaleza after just nine minutes, with Dutch coach Louis van Gaal declaring the injury was a "big setback" as he plans for the Salvador clash.

PODOLSKI

Germany will be without winger Lukas Podolski in their World Cup last-16 match against Algeria in Porto Alegre on Monday after he picked up a thigh muscle injury in their last group game, coach Joachim Loew has said.

Podolski was injured in the first half of their 1-0 win over the United States and was taken off at halftime.

Tests late on Saturday showed he would not be available for their first knockout game in the tournament.

The 29-year-old, who has won 116 caps and is playing in his third World Cup, came on as a late substitute in the opening 4-0 win over Portugal but did not feature in the other group game against Ghana.

SECOND YELLOW

Brazil were left to count the cost of Saturday's World Cup last-16 victory over victory as Neymar suffered a thigh knock and midfielder Luis Gustavo picked up a second yellow card.

"We need to evaluate it but we should have three, four or five days to try and make sure he can play the next game," said Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari of Neymar, who took a heavy knock to the thigh after a crunching challenge from Charles Aranguiz with the match just four minutes old.

RACE

Belgium are hoping for a quick recovery over the weekend from first choice defenders Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen as they remain doubtful for their World Cup match against the United States on Tuesday.

Anthony Vanden Borre was ruled out of the tournament on Friday after a scan revealed a crack in his fibula (calf bone) and back-up defender Laurent Ciman and midfielder Mousa Dembele also missed training on Saturday as the team prepared for their last 16 match in Salvador.

Vanden Borre will be out for at least six weeks, said coach Marc Wilmots in a tweet.

His fellow right back Ciman has an adductor strain while Dembele did not train as a preventative measure after complaining of tightness in his muscles.

MUSCLE INJURY

Argentina striker Sergio Aguero will miss the upcoming last 16 clash with Switzerland after suffering a muscle injury in his left leg and could be out of the World Cup should they progress.

Aguero's injury in the 3-2 victory over Nigeria on Wednesday is a major blow to the South Americans' campaign to capture a third World Cup.

Team doctor Daniel Martinez told reporters the 26-year-old was undergoing magnetic resonance and other urgent treatments at the team's camp in Belo Horizonte.

"We have available all the resources to progress as quickly as possible," he said. "He won't be ready for the Switzerland game, and from there we'll check his evolution day-by-day."

Other sources close to the team said Aguero would almost certainly also be out for further games assuming Argentina progress.

HAMSTRING

Netherlands midfielder Leroy Fer will miss the World Cup last-16 match against Mexico on Sunday after suffering a hamstring injury in training, team officials said on Wednesday.

Fer, who came on s substitute and scored with his first touch of the tournament as the Dutch beat Chile 2-0 in Sao Paulo to finish top of Group B, limped out of training on Tuesday and underwent an MRI scan on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old could also miss a possible quarter-final match next week if the Dutch win Sunday’s game in Fortaleza.

Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal, who had knee surgery last month and was an injury doubt for Monday's Group B clash against the Netherlands, said he was fit to play if selected.

"After the matches I've played I feel better," Vidal told reporters on Sunday at Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo where the match will be played.

"I have been feeling better this week and our coach will decide whether I am to play or not. But I certainly feel like playing in tomorrow's game."

CONCUSSION

Netherlands defender Bruno Martins Indi will miss their final World Cup Group B match against Chile on Monday after suffering concussion in the win over Australia, coach Louis Van Gaal said.

"Martins Indi is not fit for this match," Van Gaal told reporters on Sunday.

Martins, who spent the night in hospital following the 3-2 victory over Australia in Porto Alegre, said he was taking "baby steps" towards returning to full fitness.

"As I said, I'm taking it step by step," the 22-year-old said at the news conference. "Yesterday I was allowed to jog for a bit, so I will have to see when I can play again."

UNLIKELY

Italy's Daniele De Rossi has a leg injury and is highly unlikely to play in the World Cup Group D showdown against Uruguay on Tuesday, the Azzurri's team doctor said on Saturday.

The 30-year-old midfielder played the full 90 minutes in both of Italy's games in the tournament, a 2-1 victory over England and a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica.

"He has a muscle problem in his leg," Enrico Castellacci told a news conference on Saturday.

"It is highly unlikely that he will be able to play on Tuesday.

"If I was being positive I would say that it is possible the injury to the muscle would improve but it is highly improbable he will play."

De Rossi is likely to be replaced by Brazilian-born Thiago Motta alongside the influential Andrea Pirlo in midfield.

DISCOMFORT

Spain centre back Gerard Pique had to pull out of training on Saturday after feeling discomfort in an adductor muscle, making him a doubt for Monday's final World Cup Group B match against Australia.

"Pique started the session but just after the halfway point he withdrew," the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said on the team's website (www.sefutbol.com).

"The federation's medical team will assess the extent of the injury," they added.

REHABILITATION

England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the World Cup Group D match against Uruguay on Thursday as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury, manager Roy Hodgson said.

"He's not in contention for tomorrow, but he will take part in the next full training session," Hodgson told reporters on Wednesday at Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo.

"Today was his last training session ... individually. At the limit we could have taken a chance with him tomorrow, but it would be much better if he uses the four days after this game and before the Costa Rica game to train with the team."

"Fortunately for us, his injury has responded very well to treatment," the manager said of the 20-year-old, adding that there were no other injury concerns for the Uruguay game.

Meanwhile, Uruguay's captain and defender Diego Lugano will miss the World Cup Group D match against England on Thursday due to pain in his left knee, the Uruguayan football association said.

"It's got worse in recent days, despite physio treatment," said a statement on Wednesday from the Uruguayan camp at a resort in countryside outside Belo Horizonte.

"He's ruled out for the England game."

Striker Luis Suarez missed Uruguay's opening game as he was regaining fitness after knee surgery.

But he has declared himself "100 per cent" and is likely to figure against England even though Tabarez is keeping mum on Suarez's prospects.

THIGH INJURY

Germany defender Mats Hummels is undergoing extensive treatment for a thigh injury but it is still uncertain whether he will be fit for Germany's next World Cup match against Ghana on Saturday, assistant coach Hansi Flick said on Wednesday.

Flick also indicated that - if Hummels is fit - Germany would field the same starting line-up on Saturday against Ghana that thrashed Portugal 4-0 in their Group G opening match.

"We're hopeful even though it's going to be really close call (whether he is fit in time)," Flick told a news conference. "We're counting on him being able to play. But if not we've got alternatives. He's getting treatment all day long."

Hummels, a bulwark of Germany's defence who also scored a goal in Germany's 4-0 win over Portugal, suffered a severe bruise in his right thigh in the 73rd minute of the Portugal match after colliding in the air with Eder.

Hummels had to be helped off the pitch and has not trained with his team since.

Flick said that if Hummels could not play on Saturday then right back Jerome Boateng would likely move into the central defence with Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi could start as right back. Mustafi replaced Hummels on Monday.

SUBSTITUTE

Cameroon captain and record goal scorer Samuel Eto'o could be used as a substitute during the second Group A game against Croatia on Wednesday despite a knee injury, coach Volker Finke said.

Eto'o, 33, said on Monday he had virtually no hope of appearing in the game.

He came on as a substitute against Mexico but felt a recurrence of a niggling knee injury he has been battling for the last few months.

"I think the most important thing for us tomorrow is that Samuel is with us, perhaps as a substitute," Finke told a news conference on Tuesday.

"I think it would be very very hard for him to start because we're dealing with health matters here and we can't work miracles," he said.

Eto'o said he had not had the time needed over the last few months to fully recover.

"Even if I knew I'd be playing or not I wouldn't say anything ... we can't reveal our strengths and weaknesses to our opponents," he said.

Portugal left back Fabio Coentrao will miss the rest of the World Cup after being taken off injured in the opening 4-0 Group G defeat by Germany, the Portuguese Football Federation said on Tuesday (FPF).

"Fabio Coentrao cannot play any more in this World Cup," the Portuguese Football Federation said on Twitter.

PRECAUTION

Brazilian forward Hulk has undergone tests on a thigh injury and a decision on his fitness for Tuesday's clash with Mexico will be made later on Monday, team officials said.

The burly striker limped out of a training session on Sunday morning but said it was a precaution and that he expected to be fit.

However, officials said Hulk underwent magnetic resonance tests in Fortaleza where Brazil play Mexico. Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari will give a press conference Monday afternoon before the team trains at the Castelao stadium.

England manager Roy Hodgson received a boost on Monday when winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returned to full training for the first time since picking up a knee injury against Ecuador in a warm-up game on June 4.

Oxlade-Chamberlain trained with the squad at the Urca military base in the shadows of Sugarloaf mountain, taking part in a series of running drills while wearing a brace on his right knee.

Cameroon captain Samuel Eto'o will miss Wednesday's match against Croatia and may play no further part in the World Cup because of his on-going knee injury, both he and team officials said on Monday.

The four-time African Footballer of the Year tweeted he was out of the next Group A match against Croatia in Manaus.

"The doctors confirm! I would probably not be able to play the match vs Croatia on Wed, june18th due to an injury on my knee causing me pain," he said on his account @setoo9.

"Eto'o has been told by the doctors he cannot play for the next 10 days," said the team's media spokesman Laurence Fotso, adding an extra prognosis.

If out for 10 days, it would also mean him missing their final group game against hosts Brazil in Brasilia next Monday.

Spain reserve goalkeeper David De Gea also missed training on Sunday after picking up a muscle injury in the buttock region, the holders said.

"The Spanish team medical staff will assess the Madrid-born keeper's progress on a daily basis to determine when he can rejoin the group," Spain said on their official website (www.sefutbol.com).

Croatia playmaker Luka Modric should be fit to resume training after being given the all clear following a foot problem, the Croatian Federation said Sunday.

The 28-year-old Real Madrid star suffered a blow to his foot during Thursday's opening World Cup match, a 3-1 defeat by Brazil at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo.

"Luka felt pain after receiving a blow against Brazil," said the Croatian Federation.

"He underwent an MRI scan which revealed there was no break nor damage to ligaments."

HULK

Brazil striker Hulk limped out a training session on Sunday morning but said his injury was not serious and he expects to be fit for the World Cup Group A match against Mexico on Tuesday.

Hulk scored a goal in the practice game but limped off moments afterwards looking downcast.

"I felt a niggle and came off as a precaution," he told reporters shortly before the squad was due to fly 1,350 miles to the northern city of Fortaleza.

"I am good, I am happy and I hope to be 100 percent in two days for the next game. I hope it wasn't anything serious, I feel good.

"It's a normal pain," he added. "If I feel anything at all I come off to treat it."

Hulk had a similar issue ahead of the opening 3-1 win over Croatia last week but he played 68 minutes before being replaced by Bernard.

FLIGHT TO HOSPITAL

Bastian Schweinsteiger will be available for Monday's World Cup clash against Portugal after taking a 60km helicopter flight to hospital to treat a foot injury, the German FA said.

Brazilian media reported that the 29-year-old was flown from the team's base near Porto Seguro to a clinic in Eunapolis on Saturday with the helicopter option preferred to a trip across the region's uneven roads.

A local Brazilian website - Radar64 - claimed Schweinsteiger was flown to hospital after taking a knock to his left foot in training on Friday.

But the German FA (DFB) insist the hospital visit was for a routine MRI scan, because of his recent knee injury, and he later rejoined the team in Salvador to prepare for Monday's Group G match at the Arena Fonte Nova.

The Bayern Munich midfielder has struggled with tendinitis of the knee since the German Cup final a month ago.

"It is not a new injury. The examination was part of a measure under the so-called FIFA protection program concerning technical aspects of an injury," DFB spokesman Jens Grittner told SID, a subsidiary of AFP.

OPTIMISM

England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has expressed optimism that he will recover from a knee injury in time for his side's second World Cup game against Uruguay on Thursday.

"It's coming along," said the Arsenal player, who damaged knee ligaments in a friendly against Ecuador last week and sat out England's opening Group D game against Italy on Saturday.

"Considering when the injury was, I'm really happy - as are the medical team - with how it's progressed.

"I'm doing some good fitness work. We'll keep pushing it - not too quickly, obviously - but I'm really positive about it and so is the medical team."

Asked about his chances of featuring against Uruguay in Sao Paulo, he told British newspaper journalists: "We are not sure about timescales.

"We are hopeful that would be realistic, but there is nothing set in stone and I can't say whether I will definitely be back or not.

"I am hopeful for that game, but there is nothing set in stone."

BUFFON OUT

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will miss their opening World Cup Group D match against England in Manaus on Saturday, Italian media reported.

Buffon twisted his ankle in Friday's training session and, though coach Cesare Prandelli was confident he would be fit for the clash, Italian media said on Saturday the keeper would be unable to recover in time for the 6 p.m. ET (2200 GMT) kick off.

Mass circulation daily newspapers Gazzetta dello Sport and Corrierre dello Sport said Paris St Germain stopper Salvatore Sirigu would take Buffon's place in the starting lineup.

Italian soccer federation press officials were not immediately available for comment.

The injury to 36-year-old Buffon, who won the 2006 World Cup with Italy, is a further blow to the Azzurri after fullback Mattia De Sciglio was ruled out of the game with a thigh injury.

England manager Roy Hodgson revealed on Friday that Danny Welbeck will be fit to face Italy in their opening World Cup Group D game against Italy in Manaus on Saturday.

"Danny's fit," Hodgson told a pre-match press conference at the Amazonia Arena.

"I'm very fortunate that even after four weeks of preparation, the only player who isn't available for selection is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"That we knew, so there can be no complaints on that score."

KNEE INJURY

Greece's top striker Kostas Mitroglou is fit to play against Colombia in their World Cup Group C opener on Saturday despite hardly featuring this year due to a knee injury, coach Fernando Santos said.

Mitroglou, who became his country's most expensive ever transfer when he joined Fulham in January in a 15 million euro deal, scored three times in their 4-2 aggregate playoff win over Romania last year to help Greece qualify.

But he has hardly played since joining the English club due to the nagging knee injury.

"Being a player who has an important role in the team due to his characteristics we understand that Kostas should be here," the Portuguese said. "Everything is ok."

"I think he has been improving a lot physically so that is not a problem. He may be lacking rhythm a bit but after each day he is better and Mitroglou will be close to his top performances here."

The Greece coach, whose team take on Ivory Coast and Japan in their other group matches, played down an injury to defender Kostas Manolas in training on Friday.

BEST PLAYER

Cristiano Ronaldo is "100 per cent" fit and ready for Portugal's opening World Cup match against the powerful Germans, William Carvalho said on Friday, hailing his team-mate as the best player in the world.

The Real Madrid star had ice applied to his troublesome left knee after training on Thursday, sparking fears over his fitness ahead of Monday's Group G opener.

But Angola-born midfielder Carvalho, speaking at Portugal's training base in Campinas, outside Sao Paulo, said: "I think he's now 100 per cent fit."

YAYA TOURE

Ivory Coast's powerhouse midfielder Yaya Toure will be fit to start their World Cup campaign against Japan, coach Sabri Lamouchi said on Friday.

The three-times African player of the year picked up a hamstring injury in April playing for club side Manchester City as they went on to win the English Premier League title.

He joined up late with the Ivory Coast squad after undergoing treatment in Qatar and missed the two warm-up matches in the United States where the Africans lost 2-1 to Bosnia but beat El Salvador by the same score.

He is likely to start in the heart of midfield, however, as Ivory Coast face Japan in a Group C match at the Pernambuco arena in the northern city of Recife on Saturday.

"I can tell you that all my players are physically ready to play tomorrow," Lamouchi told a news conference. "I can't say that all my players will be at 100 percent.

"We have had a number of injuries and health problems but everybody is available tomorrow."

KNEE FINE

Cristiano Ronaldo told Portuguese media that his troublesome left knee was fine on Thursday during a training session in which a fan ran onto the field to get his autograph.

Ronaldo, who has suffered tendinosis around the knee, gave a thumbs up to RPT television when asked if he was 100 percent physically and said "it's fine."

Around 10,000 fans watched the open training session in Campinas in a carnival atmosphere.

At one point, a woman ran onto the pitch to try and reach Ronaldo, evaded one security guard and ran another 40 metres before being brought down by another.

Ronaldo, who played in Portugal's 5-1 friendly win over Ireland on Wednesday, went over to sign his autograph on her shirt before the Portugal players threw shirts into the crowd amid hysterical scenes.

SHOULDER

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has recovered from his shoulder injury and will start Monday's World Cup match against Portugal, coach Joachim Loew said on Thursday.

Germany captain Philipp Lahm, who was also struggling with an injured ankle, is likely to play a holding midfield position rather than in the back four, a visibly relieved Loew told a news conference ahead of his team's Group G opening game against Portugal in Salvador.

"The injury situation is causing me less and less concern," Loew said. "Manuel Neuer took part in training today and he is ready to go on Monday."

Neuer, Germany's number one goalkeeper for the last four years and pillar of their defence, injured his shoulder in Bayern Munich's German Cup final victory over Borussia Dortmund last month.

The injuries had cast a shadow over Germany's World Cup training camp.

Neuer did not play in the friendlies against Cameroon and Armenia.

FIRST-CHOICE

First-choice Italy fullback Mattia De Sciglio hurt his right leg in a practice session Thursday and is being assessed for a muscle injury that could force him out of the World Cup.

The Italian team says De Sciglio was taken to a local hospital for tests. He was later ruled out of the opening Group D match against England at Manaus on Saturday.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has until 24 hours before the Azzurri's opening match to replace injured players.

If De Sciglio's injury is serious, Prandelli could draft in Andrea Ranocchia, who is with the squad as a 24th man.

VIDAL FIT

Coach Jorge Sampaoli made 17,000 million Chileans happy on Friday by declaring star player Arturo Vidal fit for Friday's World Cup "final" with Australia.

Vidal's presence could be vital as an opening win in Cuiaba would put either side in a position to challenge Group B giants Spain, the reigning champions, and the Netherlands for qualification.

The 28-year-old Juventus midfielder's participation was in jeopardy after struggling with an inflammation to his right knee following surgery on a meniscus problem last month.

But allaying a nation's fears, Sampaoli disclosed that the dead-ball specialist's troubles were behind him.

"This story's over I think. The physio's done a marvellous job, Vidal's diagnosis is clear, there's a high chance he'll play.

"His injury was rather complicated. We will now make a decision on whether he starts on the pitch, or on the bench."

BELGIUM STRIKER

Key Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku trained for the first time in Brazil on Wednesday after suffering an injury scare and came through unscathed in a timely boost for their World Cup hopes.

Lukaku, who spent a productive campaign on loan at Everton from Chelsea last season, picked up an ankle injury in a physical friendly against Tunisia on Saturday.

'FINE'

England striker Wayne Rooney said on Wednesday that he expects Manchester United team-mate Danny Welbeck to be fit to face Italy on Saturday despite an injury scare.

"Danny will be fine," Rooney told a press conference at England's Rio de Janeiro training base ahead of his side's World Cup Group D opener in Manaus.

"I'm sure he'll be ready for Saturday. He's just not risked anything today, but he'll train on Friday and will be available for Saturday I'm sure."

DEAD-BALL

Chile star Arturo Vidal gave his team a timely boost just two days before their opening World Cup clash against Australia by training with his team-mates.

The 28-year-old midfielder has been struggling with inflammation in his knee following an operation on his meniscus just over a month ago.

But the Juventus dead-ball specialist trained with his team-mates on Wednesday, the first time he has been able to do so since making a surprise 15-minute cameo comeback a week ago in the 2-0 friendly victory over Northern Ireland.

Vidal joined the squad a few minutes after they had come out to train at their Toca Da Raposa II base in Belo Horizonte, and showed no signs of discomfort.

Until Wednesday, Vidal had been training alone, undergoing physiotherapy and doing specific exercises to improve the condition of his knee.

However, in the 15 minutes of training that were open to the press, Vidal clearly wasn't pushing it, nor striking the ball with any power, although he was kicking again with both feet.

MISS TRAINING

Fears about the fitness of England forward Danny Welbeck were confirmed on Wednesday when he missed a training session ahead of his side's opening World Cup game against Italy.

British newspaper reports on Tuesday claimed the Manchester United player had been forced out of a closed training session with a thigh injury and he did not emerge for training at England's Rio de Janeiro base on Wednesday.

Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is working his way back to fitness after damaging knee ligaments in a friendly against Ecuador, was also absent.

The Football Association has yet to comment on Welbeck's injury status.

BROKEN HEEL

Heiner Mora saw his World Cup finals hopes dashed on Wednesday as the fullback withdrew from the Costa Rica squad because of a broken heel.

The 29-year-old suffered the injury in a training session on Tuesday at their base in Santos.

Costa Rica, who have called up Dave Myrie as a replacement, begin their campaign against Copa America champions Uruguay on Saturday.

Myrie, 26, made his international debut in 2010 but has had a nomadic club career taking in 10 clubs in four different countries.

The Costa Ricans, whose best performance at a World Cup was reaching the last 16 in 1990, also play Italy and England.

HEAVILY STRAPPED

England forward Danny Welbeck is a doubt for his side's opening World Cup game against Italy on Saturday due to injury, according to British media reports on Tuesday.

Several newspapers reported that the Manchester United player was forced to limp out of a training session at England's Urca training base in Rio de Janeiro, having taken to the field with his right thigh heavily strapped.

Welbeck, 23, started two of England's three pre-tournament warm-up games and was in contention to start the Group D opener against Cesare Prandelli's Italy in Manaus.

His absence would potentially open the door for Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling.

The 19-year-old missed England's 0-0 draw with Honduras on Saturday after being sent off in their previous game against Ecuador, but he has impressed England coach Roy Hodgson with his performances in training.

AFRICAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Ivory Coast's African Player of the Year Yaya Toure is doubtful for their opening World Cup group game with Japan on Saturday, coach Sabri Lamouchi told the Ivorian press on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old Manchester City star - whose performances and 20 goals for his club last season were instrumental in bringing them the Premier League title - is still struggling with a hamstring injury he suffered in the title deciding win over West Ham on the last day of the league season.

"He finished the season injured and worn out," said Lamouchi.

"He has not yet resumed team training and has to undergo a rehabilitation programme.

"We are going to do everything in our power so that he will be able to start or at least come on during the game with Japan."

Oxlade-Chamberlain in line for Uruguay return 

England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could return from injury in time for his side's second World Cup game against Uruguay, manager Roy Hodgson revealed on Tuesday.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 20, damaged ligaments in his right knee during a friendly against Ecuador last week, but he trained wearing a protective brace on Monday.

Although he is expected to miss England's opening Group D match against Italy in Manaus on Saturday, Hodgson is hopeful that the Arsenal man will be available to face Uruguay in Sao Paulo on June 19.

England's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rests his injured leg during a soccer training session in Rio de Janeiro June 9, 2014. (REUTERS)

"Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did very well," Hodgson told a press conference at England's Urca training base in Rio de Janeiro.

"You may have seen the running he was doing - very positive. He was running so well and so fast and we will be stepping up his recovery in due course.

"We are hoping (he will be back) for Uruguay, but there's no guarantee."

Hodgson also allayed fears about the fitness of captain Steven Gerrard, who cut short his training session on Monday after complaining of tightness in his groin.

"We did a training session where the players who didn't play on Saturday (against Honduras) trained, and some of the others did a warm-down session," Hodgson said.

"Steven did some extra work at the end of that training session. There's nothing wrong with him and I don't understand that story at all."

Neymar gives Brazil momentary scare  

Brazil briefly held its breath when Neymar went down clutching his right ankle in training on Monday, but the incident turned out to be nothing more than a momentary scare.

The fact that the 22-year-old forward went down when none of his national team colleagues were near him suggested a potential problem, just three days ahead of Brazil's opening World Cup game against Croatia in Sao Paulo.

However, the striker quickly got back up and finished the training game at the Selecao's Granja Comary base in Teresopolis.

A sprain to Neymar's right ankle earlier this year sidelined him from Barcelona's ranks for just under four weeks.

STAR DUO 

Portugal coach Paulo Bento is weighing up whether to gamble on both Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe in Tuesday's friendly with the Republic of Ireland, as the star duo race to be fit for the World Cup.

The Brazilian showpiece begins on Thursday and the Portuguese face the strongly fancied Germany on June 16 in the so-called 'Group of Death', which also includes Ghana and the USA.

But neither of the Real Madrid aces have been able to play a full part in Portugal's preparations and have missed the last two warm-up games, a barely deserved 1-0 win over Mexico and a dull 0-0 draw with Greece.

Bento would have hoped that the game against the Irish in New Jersey, in the United States, would be a final chance to fine-tune his squad with the Germany clash less than a week away.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during training June 9, 2014 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (AFP)

But instead it has taken on extra significance and all eyes will be on how long - if at all - Bento gives Ronaldo, Pepe and Raul Meireles, another key player whose preparations have been disrupted by injury.

"Two of them trained on Saturday and Sunday and Pepe will train today," Bento revealed on Monday.

"Their situation will depend on how they respond to training and we'll see what our decision will be for tomorrow's match.

"It's always difficult to train without the full squad and it's always difficult to prepare for a big match like the German one without all the players fit."

Gerrard struggles in England training 


England captain Steven Gerrard managed only light training on Monday ahead of the World Cup as he struggled with what was termed as a minor groin strain.

Gerrard, 34, did only a few runs down the touchline as the main squad was put through a punishing schedule at the Urca military base in Rio de Janeiro.

The Liverpool midfielder went inside before the end of the session. England staff said it was a minor ailment and they had no doubt Gerrard would be ready for England's first Group D match against Italy on Saturday.

Gerrard missed half of England's 0-0 draw with Honduras on Saturday as a precaution.

England's Steven Gerrard during a soccer training session in Rio de Janeiro, June 9, 2014. (REUTERS)

England staff are gradually building up rehabilitation for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as he recovers from a knee ligament injury suffered against Ecuador last week.

The 20-year-old Arsenal star took part in intense sprint workouts with a brace on his knee.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is unlikely to take any part in the early Group D games against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Chile still sweating on Vidal fitness 

Key midfielder Arturo Vidal remains an injury doubt for Chile ahead of their World Cup opener against Australia on June 13 in Cuiaba.

The Juventus dead-ball specialist again did not train with his team-mates at their base in Belo Horizonte on Monday.

Vidal, 28, has been struggling with inflammation in his knee since undergoing an operation on May 7 due to a meniscus problem.

Chile's midfielder Arturo Vidal sits during a training session at Toca da Raposa in Belo Horizonte, on June 9, 2014. (AFP)

He made a surprise comeback in last Wednesday's 2-0 friendly victory over Northern Ireland, playing 15 minutes, but has not since been able to train with his team-mates.

Tests carried out on Saturday revealed he had inflammation under his right kneecap.

Vidal trained apart with some light jogging during the 15 minutes Chile's training session was open to the media, before kicking a ball, but only with his left foot.

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