World Cup Countdown: Pato looks to future after failure to make Brazil squad

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The Independent Football

Milan striker Alexandre Pato has remained positive despite missing out on a place in Brazil's squad for the finals. "I believed in it until the end," the 20-year-old said, "but I am still young." After a number of impressive performances in Serie A this year, the forward is targeting the next tournament. "I will work hard so I can be ready for the Brazil World Cup in 2014," he promised.

Netherlands captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst has announced his decision to retire from football after the World Cup. The former Rangers, Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder will join Feyenoord's technical staff for next season. "The World cup will be a beautiful end to my career," he said. "Besides physical conditioning, you also have to be mentally fit, and that's how I feel now." The Dutchman, currently on 97 appearances, will seek to win his 100th cap during the tournament in South Africa.

Mexico have named just five midfielders in their provisional 26-man World Cup squad. Coach Javier Aguirre has named Spurs midfielder Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos, Andres Guardado, Gerrardo Torrado and Israel Castro as the only recognised midfield options, with 11 defenders. However, there are others capable of playing in the centre, such as Barcelona's versatile Rafael Marquez.

Kevin-Prince Boateng could play against his brother in South Africa after he was cleared to represent Ghana. The 23-year-old's brother, Jerome, has been named in Joachim Löw's 27-man provisional Germany squad. "If we make the starting XI then we could actually be opponents," Kevin-Prince said ahead of the Group D meeting in Johannesburg on 23 June. "It's bizarre."

Highlights of the day

Quote of the day

"I won't be a crazy spectator. I won't go to South Africa. I won't write, I won't comment. I just want sea, sun and sleep, nothing else."

Inter coach Jose Mourinho has no plans to attend the finals, then...

Invitation of the day

Barcelona's Lionel Messi has invited singer Cheryl Cole to follow Argentina at the World Cup. "If she is looking for a new nation, she should look no further," he said. "Argentinian men know how to treat their women."