Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 13th 2014 Contents RIBEIRAO PRETO---France s team doctor has criticised Bayern
Munich for the way the club handled a lingering back injury that
ruled star winger Franck Ribery out of the World Cup.
Ribery appeared to have made progress from a chronic lower back
injury that had plagued him for weeks, only to be ruled out of the
competition last Friday when he pulled up in training. It came just
three days before France flew to Brazil, depriving coach Didier
Deschamps of his most experienced player and most dangerous
"When I examined him and we did tests with the X-ray and
scans, I was very reassured. There was no reason why he wouldn t
play in the World Cup," France doctor Franck Le Gall said Thursday.
"We have some explanations for his pain. However, he didn t find
a way ... we didn t find the way for his pains to cease or for him
to play through his discomfort."
Ribery, who has scored 16 goals in 81 appearances for France,
made his last appearance of the season for Bayern as a substitute
in the German Cup final win over Borussia Dortmund on May 17,
when he came on in the first half and was substituted during extra
Ribery had been rested following the 4-0 defeat to Real Madrid
in the return leg of their Champions League semifinal on April 29,
and Le Gall thinks it was too risky for Ribery to play in the Cup
final less than three weeks later.
"He was out for more or less three weeks and played a match
which he probably shouldn t have played because he played through
pain," Le Gall said. He said when Ribery joined up with the France
team at its World Cup training camp he "was just as much bothered"
by the injury as before.
Bayern "didn t manage to solve the problem in (those) three
weeks," said Le Gall said, who estimated that Ribery should be ready
to play by mid-August.
Le Gall was asked if France had considered treating Ribery s injury
by injection. It was an option that appeared to be ruled out by the
France team s medical staff, even though, Le Gall said, Bayern could
be regularly treating its players with jabs.
"Franck belongs to a club where for all pathological treatments---
twisted ankles, bruising, muscle pains, contractions, tears---there
are injections," Le Gall said. "There are 10 per pathology (injury),
or 20, 25, 40 per year, or more. So there comes a time when, well
... he (Ribery) has had enough of injections. If for a moment we
thought it could be solved that way, we didn t do it, because he s
scared of injections."
In other injury updates, France striker Olivier Giroud and center
half Laurent Koscielny were earlier cleared to take part in Thursday s
training session after sitting out the previous day s practice to have
some physio treatment.
Giroud had some tightness in his left hamstring and Koscielny,
his Arsenal club teammate, has some tendinitis in his Achilles.
SALVADOR---Don t mention the final.
On the eve of the rematch of the 2010
World Cup final between the Nether-
lands and Spain, the Dutch were playing
down any talk of seeking revenge for
the agonising 1-0 defeat in Johannesburg
four years ago.
"It s history. It doesn t matter any
longer," winger Arjen Robben said yes-
terday, a day before the two teams World
Cup Group B opener at the Arena Fonte
Nova in Salvador. "I don t believe in
revenge---2010 was a final, this is a group
match. You can t compare it. "
In a possible indication of the way
the Netherlands will play today, coach
Louis van Gaal defended the tough tack-
ling four years ago that earned eight
players a yellow card and one a sending
off as the Dutch lost their third World
"Physicality is part of the game of
football," Van Gaal said. "Four years ago
the Dutch team didn t go over the top."
Van Gaal s team in Brazil, a mixture of
youngsters and a handful of veterans of the
South Africa campaign, has been physical
in training, too, with Nigel de Jong and Bruno
Martins Indi felling forwards like Robben
and Wesley Sneijder.
The hard work and hard tackling is a
way of overcoming the quality deficit the
Netherlands has compared to Spain.
This Dutch team is widely perceived
as weaker than the one that reached the
2010 final. Van Gaal has totally rebuilt
his defense and key midfielder Kevin
Strootman is missing the tournament as
he recovers from knee surgery.
"We will do everything we can to be
the surprise of the tournament," Van Gaal
The 62-year-old Dutchman, long a
champion of attractive attacking football,
has become more pragmatic as he plots
to spring that surprise in his first World
Cup. He has ditched the traditional 4-
3-3 attacking system beloved of the Dutch
and instead will play a five-man defense
to counter Spain s quick-passing style
and hope to score on the counter.
"What is very important is that when
the opponent has possession we need to
be compact," he said, adding that the
Dutch have to "bypass stations" when
they have the ball---hinting at a long-ball
game unfamiliar to Dutch fans.
After their opener, both teams have
to play Chile and Australia in Group B.
The future Manchester United coach,
who once led Barcelona, is clearly a fan
of his opponent today.
"I think Spanish football is maybe the best
in the world because it combines skill, tactics
and physicality," he said. (AP)
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, June 13, 2014
Ronaldo cuts short training
Cristiano Ronaldo cut short a training session with
Portugal yesterday, leaving the field with an ice pack
over his left knee---indicating that his tendinitis may still
be bothering the star forward.
Ronaldo trained with the rest of the team for about
15-20 minutes doing physical exercises but then did not
take part in the rest of the session with full ball drills.
Instead, he stretched on his own and signed a few
shirts for fans before going to sit on the bench. When he
left, he had an ice pack over his left knee.
Ronaldo has been bothered by left leg injuries ahead
of the World Cup, and was sidelined for two weeks with
tendinitis in the knee and a thigh problem.
Myrie replaces injured Mora
Fifa has confirmed that Costa Rica defender Dave
Myrie can join its World Cup squad as a replacement for
Heiner Mora who was injured in training this week.
Fifa rules allowed the 26-year-old Myrie, a former
Philadelphia Union player, to be called up at least 24
hours before the team's opening match.
Costa Rica plays Uruguay in Fortaleza tomorrow. Its
other Group C rivals are Italy and England.
Mora, a 29-year-old full-back, injured his right Achilles
tendon in training this week.
He became the fourth player in coach Jorge Luis
Pinto's intended squad to drop out through injury.
Belgium counting on Hazard
Jose Mourinho has sung the praises of Eden Hazard.
The best club in Paris, the city of lights, has wooed him.
And Eden has finally arrived in his garden---the World
Cup---wearing the same storied No 10 as the likes of
Pele, Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane did before
Now comes the hard part: Living up to his billing and
dealing with the pressure.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots says any pressure on
his star player should be "water off a duck's back."
However, Hazard certainly has piled more pressure on
himself with a lacklustre preparation campaign.
Still, his teammates know he will perform when
Defender Jan Vertonghen said "whatever happens, he
will be there," echoing several teammates.
Belgium opens play Tuesday against Algeria.
Lavezzi challenging Higuain
It's hard to think of another team in the World Cup
that could leave a player like Gonzalo Higuain on the
The Napoli target player is normally coach Alejandro
Sabella's first choice to link up with Lionel Messi and
Sergio Aguero in Argentina's three-man attack.
But it was Ezequiel Lavezzi who was playing with the
presumed starters at the beginning of Argentina's prac-
tice yesterday, three days before the team's World Cup
opener against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
That could suggest that Higuain isn't back to full fit-
ness, even though he no longer appears to be bothered
by an ankle injury that's kept him sidelined since May. It
could also mean that Sabella favors Lavezzi's speed over
Higuain's aerial game against the tall Bosnian defense.
With 21 goals, the 26-year-old Higuain is the Argen-
tine squad's second highest scorer, after Messi. Higuain
scored 25 goals in 46 games for Napoli this season.
Lavezzi, 29, scored 12 times for Paris Saint Germain in
2013-2014. He has four goals for Argentina.
US defender Chandler hurts leg,
trains on own
American defender Timmy Chandler did not partici-
pate in training yesterday because of a leg injury the
team said it considers minor.
U.S. team spokesman Michael Kammarman said
Chandler worked out on his own and is expected to re-
join teammates Friday, when the Americans go through
their last practice at Sao Paulo Futebol Clube before
travelling north to Natal for their World Cup opener
against Ghana next week.
Chandler has been competing with DaMarcus
Beasley to start at left back.
THE PLAYERS' CORNER
Netherlands' head coach Louis van Gaal, left, gives
instructions to player Wesley Sneijder during an official
training sessio in Salvador, Brazil, yesterday AP PHOTO
Dutch play down revenge talk ahead
over Ribery injury
France's forward Franck Ribery, left, walks, as France's assistant
coach Guy Stephan, right holds the shoulder of head coach Didier
Deschamps, right bottom, after posing for the French National
soccer team photo, at the training base, in Clairefontaine, outside
Paris, June 6. AP PHOTO
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