Mikel falls victim to the curse of Chelsea

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The Independent Football

John Obi Mikel was ruled out of the World Cup yesterday when he badly bruised an ankle in his first full contact training session with Nigeria. The 23-year-old, who had just come back from a minor knee operation, joins fellow Chelsea midfielders Michael Ballack, the German captain, and Ghana's Michael Essien on the sidelines.

The Ivory Coast are giving the Chelsea striker Didier Drogba as long as possible to decide whether a broken bone in his arm will prevent him playing. He suffered the injury during a 2-0 victory on Friday in a warm-up match against Japan, whose defender Yasuyuki Konno damaged knee ligaments, ruling him out of his side's first two group games at least.

The former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben limped off with a hamstring injury after scoring twice as Holland came from behind with a second-half surge to thrash Hungary 6-1. The Bayern Munich player will have a scan to assess the damage.

Slovakia's Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel was passed fit after a scan on an ankle injured during a 3-0 win over Costa Rica.

England opponents Algeria needed a penalty to beat the UAE 1-0, while South Africa edged Denmark by the same score

Jérôme Boateng, the Germany defender, has signed a five-year contract with Manchester City, moving from Hamburg. Lazio's Thomas Hitzlsperger, left out of Germany's squad, has signed a three-year deal with West Ham.

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