Giovani hurt by brother's absence
Tottenham's Giovani dos Santos is considering quitting his country's World Cup squad following the surprise exclusion of his brother, Jonathan, from the squad. The 21-year-old midfielder, who has made just two league starts in two seasons at White Hart Lane, was said to be "very hurt" at being parted from his younger sibling. "Giovani is hurting, Giovani is shattered," his father, the former Brazil international Zizinho, said. "He does not feel well [and] does not want to play, His dream was to be with his brother. He does not even feel like playing in the World Cup." Barcelona midfielder Jonathan is now believed to have quit the side. "I don't want him playing for them anymore anyway," Zizinho added.
Boateng boys prepare to meet
One sibling rivalry that could light up the World Cup is that of the Boateng brothers, who could face each other in a group game. Berlin-born Kevin-Prince, 23, of relegated Portsmouth, has been included in the Black Stars squad after previously representing Germany at every level up to Under-21. Jerome, the younger of the two at 21, has already made his debut for Joachim Löw's side, and could line up against his elder brother in Johannesburg on 23 June.
McCarthy weighed out
Striker Benni McCarthy has been left out of Carlos Alberto Parreira's final 23-man squad, with 32-year-old Siyabonga Nomvethe preferred in his place. The West Ham forward is Bafana Bafana's all-time leading scorer, with 32 goals in 78 games, and scored his country's first ever goal at the finals in 1998. "No-one's place in the final squad is a given," McCarthy said. "Unfortunately this time it was not to be. The final squad is a tough call for any coach to make and I am sure it was not made without heartache."
Parreira's side recorded their biggest win since South Africa returned to internationals in 1992 on Monday, extending their unbeaten run to 11 games in overcoming Guatemala 5-0 in Polokwane, a match that saw captain Aaron Mokoena win his 100th cap.
Rossi and Borriello fail to make it
Milan striker Marco Borriello and Villarreal forward Giuseppe Rossi were omitted from Marcello Lippi's final squad, with the Italy coach pulling a major surprise by choosing Napoli's Fabio Quagliarella.
Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, defender Mattia Cassani and midfielder Andrea Cossu were the other players from a 28-man squad to miss out. However, winger Mauro Camoranesi, part of the team that triumphed in 2006, was included despite pulling out of altitude training in the Alps yesterday with a knee injury.
Drumming up support – in 3D
The country's games are to be screened live in 3D in multiplex cinemas in an attempt to coax supporters out of their homes. "People don't come to theatres when there's a Korean match," marketing official Park Hye-young said. "We decided to show matches on our screens that are best for watching events."
Former Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong-gook has been named in Huh Jung-moo's squad despite suffering from a hamstring injury, while Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung and Bolton forward Lee Chung-yong have also been included.
All Whites' wedding for Killen
Striker Chris Killen has postponed his honeymoon to feature in the All Whites' first World Cup in 28 years. The Middlesbrough forward got married on Saturday – in a ceremony organised long before New Zealand qualified – missing the friendly with Serbia. "Obviously it would have been nice to go straight on honeymoon afterwards," Killen said. "The missus knows it's important for my career, that the World Cup is the focus now, so we'll put it on hold until after."
Killen may have a struggle getting back in Ricki Herbert's side after they shocked fellow finalists Serbia 1-0 in Klagenfurt on Saturday, with replacement Shane Smeltz grabbing the only goal. Herbert admits that victory may have done more harm than good: "We can't fly in under the radar after a performance like that," he said. "People will be much more aware of our strengths and probably be a bit better prepared when they play us."
Defender Ryan Nelsen is another with family issues clouding his participation. The Blackburn centre-back is banking on an early exit for his country – with his wife expecting to give birth on the weekend of the final.
Nakamura stays in the frame
Former Celtic midfielder Shinsuke Nakamura has made Takeshi Okada's final 23, despite missing last weekend's defeat against England with an ankle injury. The surprise call-up was former Portsmouth goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi. Fellow stopper Eiji Kawashima remains reserve to Seigo Narazaki between the sticks, despite his fine performance against England in Graz.
Socceroos keep faith in Kewell
Manager Pim Verbeek remains confident midfielder Harry Kewell will be ready to feature in the tournament. The Galatasaray and former Leeds and Liverpool winger has only played a few minutes of competitive action this year due to a groin injury. "Everybody who saw training saw that Harry was ready," Verbeek said. "From Thursday he will be training normally with the team."
The Socceroos continued their preparations for the tournament yesterday with a 1-0 victory over Denmark in Roodepoort. Striker Josh Kennedy scored the only goal with a close-range finish in the 71st minute.
Rehhagel seeks samba style
Twenty-eight years after Socrates lit up Spain '82 for Brazil, Otto Rehhagel has attempted to bring a bit of the samba magic to his side, with a call-up for Genoa defender Socrates Papastathopoulos. Liverpool's Sotiris Kyrgiakos also makes the squad, along with Celtic forward Giorgios Samaras.
Tough call for Eriksson
The Elephants manager Sven Goran Eriksson has spoken of his disappointment at having to drop a number of players from his final squad. "Not pleasant," he said after sending players including Bakary Koné and Abdoulaye Méïté home. "It's not the best part of a manager's job but it has to be done. From what I have seen of the players, they are all extremely well-educated, happy people and they took it as men with style."
Anichebe injury row
Everton have refuted claims that striker Victor Anichebe has a serious injury, claiming he is only suffering from a bruised chin. The 22-year-old was left out of Lars Lagerback's final squad this week. Fellow Toffees forward Yakubu makes the cut, along with defender Joseph Yobo. Bolton's Danny Shittu, Fulham's Dickson Etuhu, and Chelsea's John Obi Mikel also make the plane, as did the Portsmouth duo John Utaka and Nwankwo Kanu.
Buck is the fall guy
Hoffenheim right-back Andreas Buck was the final name to be culled from Joachim Löw's injury-hit squad for the finals last night, with his manager praising him for his reaction to the news. "Obviously this is disappointing for Andreas," he said. "He invested a lot in training and always behaved in a correct way. He even addressed the team and was awarded with a round of applause."
Michael Ballack, Christian Traesch and Heiko Westermann have all pulled out of the squad due to injury, leaving Löw with just one name to leave out.
Veteran midfielder Torsten Frings had been tipped for a recall, although Löw has opted to put his trust in youth, with the likes of Dennis Aogo, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil – all members of Germany's European under-21 champions last year – given chances to impress.