World Cup Countdown: Returning Torres boosts Spanish hopes
Friday 28 May 2010
Spain striker Fernando Torres has trained for the first time since undergoing a knee operation on 18 April and should make a full recovery in time for the finals. The 26-year-old Liverpool player joined Vicente del Bosque's squad in light training yesterday, featuring in a half-hour practice match. His return was a boost for the whole team, defender Gerard Piqué said. "Fernando is an important player for us and hopefully he can be ready for the first World Cup match."
Germany coach Joachim Löw will name his 23-man squad today with full-back Philipp Lahm – who missed training yesterday – expected to be named captain in Michael Ballack's absence. The former German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who won 86 caps, has voiced his concern about the possibility of Lahm leading the German side. "Philipp is a great footballer," he said, "but I don't know whether he is mature enough to be captain." The manager will also name his new first-choice goalkeeper after René Adler was ruled out of the tournament through injury, with Manuel Neuer favourite to be the new No 1.
Switzerland striker Marco Streller has been ruled out of the tournament after damaging his hamstring on Wednesday. Swiss manager Ottmar Hitzfeld is expected to name Albert Bunjaku or Nassim Ben Khalifa as the 31-year-old's replacement.
Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-guk is doubtful for South Korea's tournament opener against Greece on 12 June after sustaining a hamstring injury in training.
Following yesterday's announcement of a friendly against Tanzania on 7 June, Brazil have declared they will play Zimbabwe in a warm-up match on 2 June.
New Zealand vice-captain Tim Brown is to have surgery on his right shoulder after fracturing it in Monday's 2-1 defeat by Australia. The 29-year-old midfielder admits he now has only a "50-50" chance of being able to play in the competition.
Highlights of the day
Quote of the day
"We know with France, they have the ability to handball – we don't have that." Robbie Keane on Thierry Henry's infamous assist for William Gallas, which helped to ensure the French will be in South Africa instead of the Republic of Ireland. His side face England's Group C opponents Algeria in Dublin tonight
Unwanted request of the day
"We want it louder and louder." South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira encourages the noise of the Vuvuzela, the widely-criticised screeching trumpet which is the Bafana Bafana fans' trademark
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