With the World Cup in South Africa rapidly approaching, many countries have some cause for concern as several of the worlds best footballers have fallen victim to injury. The first true star of the sport to be declared out of the World Cup is Ghana Midfielder Michael Essien. Listed as the number 10 player in the world by ESPN football power rankings, Essien suffered a knee injury that will unfortunately keep him off the pitch for the remainder of the summer. The loss of the Chelsea Football Club star comes as a costly blow for an African side looking to make a name for itself in this years World Cup.
Ghana is far from the only country to be struck by the injury bug. Another African nation sustained an equally devastating loss when the Ivory Coasts Didier Drogba went down with what is being described as a broken arm. Drogba underwent surgery on Saturday afternoon and has hopes of somehow making a much-needed appearance for his country.
Other notable footballers that have been plagued with injury just days before the world biggest sporting event are German captain Michael Ballack, English captain Rio Ferdinand and Netherlands star Ajen Robben. The United States “soccer” squad has also faced their fair share of injury, most recently when striker Jozy Altidore went down with an ankle injury. Reports say that Altidore has returned to training with the team and is hopeful for the United States clash with England to kick off their World Cup on June 12th.
On a more positive note, the United States won their final international friendly before the World Cup on Saturday morning, defeating Australia 3-1. The win provided a nice confidence booster for the U.S. team going into their much-anticipated match with England. L.A. Galaxy breakout star Edson Buddle showed fans that he can be a more than suitable replacement for Altidore, scoring two goals in the match. With several impressive wins under their belt, most notably over football powerhouse Spain at last summers Confederation Cup, the United States looks poised to make a run and possibly become the surprise team of this years World Cup.
The opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup takes place on Friday at 10:00 AM ET between Mexico and host nation South Africa. Look to Unique-Sports.com for continuing coverage of the Worlds largest sporting event all summer long.
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