World Cup Countdown: Robben ruled out of Netherlands opener

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The Independent Football

Netherlands midfielder Arjen Robben has been ruled out of the opening game against Denmark with a hamstring injury. The Bayern Munich midfielder sustained the tear during Saturday's win over Hungary, and will now sit out Monday's game in Johannesburg. "Since the final of the Champions League, Arjen has hardly played," Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk said. "It is illusory to believe he will be ready to face Denmark."

Germany's players have been issued with pre-set mobile phones for the finals, but are unable to call each other. "We each got a phone but they don't work at all," the 31-year-old centre-back Arne Friedrich said. "I can call my girlfriend in Berlin but cannot talk to other players." Team mate Per Mertesacker has found a way around it: "Calling within the group has not been possible, so I just call room number to room number."

Australia have been given permission by Fifa to leave their chosen training base and return to the school grounds they used for their initial camp after manager Pim Verbeek criticised the Ruimsig stadium in Roodepoort. The pitch deteriorated badly during last Saturday's warm-up against the US, with chunks of lawn lying loose on the turf after the match.

Highlights of the day

Quote of the day

"On TV all you hear is those rhythms mixing into a grey, B-flat drone and that's what millions will be hearing at the World Cup. That is really what hurt me as a musician... that is not Africa." Espi-Sanchis, an expert on traditional music, laments the din of the vuvuzela

Promise of the day

Despite being drawn in the "'group of death", with Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast to overcome, the North Korean striker Jong Tae-se has high hopes of his country advancing, and has also backed himself. "I will keep my promise of scoring one goal per game," the confident 26-year-old said. "In our group, it will be Brazil and Korea who advance."

No-show of the day

France defender William Gallas failed to show at a press conference yesterday, with the Arsenal defender refusing to speak to the media during the tournament. The centre-back was scheduled to appear alongside Lyons' Hugo Lloris but only the goalkeeper turned up. "William has decided not to speak to the media for the duration of the finals," a team spokesman said.

Hope of the day

"He is very unlikely to play, unless there is a last-minute medical wonder." Greece manager Otto Rehhagel is not confident of Vangelis Moras's fitness for Saturday's opener against South Korea

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