World Cup in brief: Fifa 'reckless' for going ahead with play-off after team bus stoned

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The Independent Online

Midfielder Khaled Lemmouchia has said that his country's qualifier away to Egypt should have been called off by Fifa after their team bus was attacked in Cairo.

Algeria lost the match 2-0 on Saturday, just two days after the incident in which youths stoned the bus after it arrived in the Egyptian capital for the tie.

Three players were slightly injured, including Lemmouchia, who had to have three stitches in his scalp. "Allowing this game to go ahead was reckless," he said. "If they prefer to see Egypt than us at the World Cup, then they'd better say it."

Fifa did ask the Egyptian FA, who claim the incident had been staged by the Algerians to tighten security measures. The two teams, who are fierce rivals, will meet again tomorrow in Sudan in a sudden-death play-off after they finished at the top of Group C level on points, goal difference and goals scored.

Places up for grabs in Italy squad, says Lippi

Italy Coach Marcello Lippi has insisted that places are still available in the squad that will travel to South Africa. "There are 16 or 17 players who already have their place secured for the World Cup," he said.

"The rest I will have to select and consider on the basis of their roles to have a balanced side." Lippi added that he believes Spain and Brazil will have the best chance of challenging his side for the trophy in South Africa. The Azzurri host Sweden in a friendly tomorrow.

Domenech loses Diaby and Abidal for Irish tie

Abou Diaby and Eric Abidal have been ruled out of tomorrow's World Cup qualifying play-off second leg against the Republic of Ireland through injury. Diaby picked up a calf injury in Arsenal's match away at Wolves before the international break and was forced off in the first half.

The midfielder has failed to recover and will return to London. France's holding midfielder Jeremy Toulalan has also failed to recover from injury and will not be involved tomorrow night. Barcelona's Abidal is out for three weeks with a thigh strain.

Parreira 'worried' that hosts will not deliver

The Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has admitted he has doubts over how well his team will fare at the World Cup because of their poor recent form leading up to the finals. The 2010 hosts have not scored or won a match since defeating Madagascar 1-0 on 19 September, and have lost twice and drawn once in their last three fixtures.

"I am worried about the team," he said. "We need more experience and confidence." Parreira initially resigned as Bafana Bafana manager in April 2008 to care for his ill wife, but returned to the position to take charge of Saturday's goalless draw with Japan. The Brazilian will hope his side can get back to winning ways tonight when they play Jamaica.

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