Eriksson faces Ukraine game without Rooney

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The Independent Football

Everton have confirmed that Wayne Rooney will be unavailable for around eight weeks after breaking a bone in his foot during England's quarter-final defeat by Portugal in the European Championship.

The injury means the 18-year-old, whose performances for England in Euro 2004 attracted international recognition, is almost certain to miss the start of the Premiership season. The England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, had initially said Rooney would be out for six weeks.

Everton confirmed the diagnosis of his injury after Rooney saw a specialist yesterday: "Wayne Rooney saw a top consultant in Manchester on Saturday and he agreed with the diagnosis of the England team doctor's orthopaedic surgeon," said Everton's head physiotherapist, Mick Rathbone.

"The injury is a cracked fifth metatarsal and should be treated conservatively with rest and immobilisation. They are anticipating the estimated recovery time will be around eight weeks and he should be able to start his rehabilitation, to include cycling and swimming, within three to four weeks."

Rooney hobbled off at the Estadio da Luz after 27 minutes on Thursday following an awkward fall under pressure from a Portugal defender. Rooney is likely to miss Everton's first game of the new season at home to champions Arsenal on 14 August and also be unavailable for an England friendly against Ukraine four days later.

Greece's tactical play in knocking the holders, France, out of Euro 2004 has earned glowing praise from Uefa's technical delegate Roy Hodgson. "It was a very good tactical display by the Greeks, very disciplined," said Hodgson, who coached Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup, their first major tournament for 32 years.

"They showed two vital qualities you seek in all teams, energy and enthusiasm," Hodgson continued. "There was a magnificent header at the back post by Mihalis Kapsis to prevent a goal. This is the stuff of which heroes are made, and the Greek team were heroes."

Hodgson also praised striker Angelos Charisteas for the way he took his opportunity to head the only goal of the game against France on Friday, adding that the Greeks had clearly benefited from the coaching of Otto Rehhagel.

The German opted for a 4-4-2 system and man-for-man marking, nullifying the influence of the more experienced and more individually skilful French players.

"Teams play the way their coaches want them to play, and to some extent that is affected by culture," Hodgson said. "I know from experience that man-to-man marking does not suit everyone, it does not suit English players, for example. But the Greeks played very good possession football, marked very well."

Greece have looked disciplined in all four matches, even when losing 2-1 to Russia in their final group game. The victory over France was clearly the highlight of their tournament so far, but they also beat the hosts, Portugal, becoming the first team to beat the hosts and champions at the same European Championship. The way they kept their shape and came back to draw 1-1 with Spain in their second match was also a credit to the organisational abilities of the coach, according to Hodgson.

Meanwhile, newspapers in France have criticised their side and questioned the international future of a generation of French players.

"Indefensible," was the one-word headline on the front page of the sports daily L'Equipe. "Pitiful," was the Libération assessment of the performance of the former world and European champions.

"Les Bleus are stark naked, they showed no desire, no ideas, no enthusiasm, no collective talent," L'Equipe wrote.

The popular daily Le Parisien agreed: "France's failure means the end for a whole generation of players, the golden generation which won the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000," it wrote.