World Cup Countdown: Lippi to delay decision on Camoranesi

8 days to go
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The Independent Football

Holders Italy will give midfielder Mauro Camoranesi as long as possible to recover from a knee injury. The Juventus player will travel to South Africa, as will Andrea Cossu. The Cagliari midfielder will come into the final 23-man party if Camoranesi fails to prove his fitness in time.

"In the next few days we will see how Camoranesi is," said Marcello Lippi, the Italian manager. Meanwhile, Azzurri captain Fabio Cannavaro has signed a two year deal with Saudi Arabian side Al Ahli. The 36-year-old was a free agent after being released by Juventus following a disappointing season.

The Zimbabwean government granted a half-day holiday to allow people to watch Brazil play a friendly in Harare yesterday. "This is the biggest sporting event ever in Zimbabwe," said David Coltart, the sports minister said. Brazil won 3-0, with goals from Fernandes Bastos, Elano and Robinho. Manager Dunga is awaiting updates on the fitness of goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who picked up a back injury, with Tottenham's Heurelho Gomes coming on to replace him midway through the first half.

Australia manager Pim Verbeek has blamed Middlesbrough manager Gordon Strachan for the absence of Rhys Williams from the Socceroos' squad. The 20-year-old defender had to pull out due to a pelvic injury, which he sustained and then aggravated by playing through the pain for Strachan. "I'm sure if Middlesbrough had given him the normal treatment, he would be in the World Cup," said Verbeek.

William Gallas missed training with the France squad yesterday after suffering from a stomach bug, making him a doubt for tomorrow's friendly with China. The 32-year-old Arsenal defender has been recovering from a calf injury as he seeks to prove his fitness before next week's opener with Uruguay.

Japan and Ivory Coast have agreed to play an additional 45 minutes when they meet in a warm-up match tomorrow. "I want to give everyone a run-out," Japan manager Takeshi Okada said. "Both sides will give the reserve players a game."

Highlights of the day

Quote of the day

"The right legacy for this event will be 'let's celebrate Africa's humanity'." Says the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, of an event in which less than 2 per cent of the watching public will be African

Karma of the day

"There's an ironic twist in there, the defender who fractured my leg will not be at the World Cup this time." Djibril Cissé feels a sense of karma as China, and in particular defender Zheng Zhi, failed to qualify for the World Cup. The St Etienne striker was the player who fractured Cissé's leg four years ago, ruling him out the finals in Germany

Sheikh of the day

"My contract with Al-Ahli realises my dream of living in Dubai and finishing my career playing for one of its clubs." The Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro's 36 years appear to be getting the better of him – he has clearly forgotten he is a World Cup winner