The Injury Cloud that is hiding the stars – A FIFA World Cup Diary

It all started last spring when England’s David Beckham drew up a lame face with a torn Achilles tendon while playing for AC Milan. And since then the list has been growing. Germany Captain Michael Ballack followed suit when he had a hard knock during the FA Cup final against Portsmouth. With many more names after those, is the world cup looking a little less lucrative sans the stars?

After those two incidents that ruled out Beckham and Ballack, there was a short period of lull till the preparatory stages of the world cup. England Captain Rio Ferdinand was next in line when his knee ligaments tore apart in a preparatory game and was ruled out of the tournament. Coincidentally, Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba broke his arm during a “friendly” against Japan. And to add to the already star studded list, Netherland’s Arjen Robben became a doubtful fixture the very next day when he sustained a hamstring injury against Hungary. With many of the world’s best players pulling out one after another, it is very disheartening for football fans. Though the prospects of Drogba and Robben look probable, Ballack, Beckham and Ferdinand are out of the world cup for sure. Captains’ curse, shall we call it?

Another important coincidence in the injury roster involves the names of three Chelsea players including Ballack, the other two being Michael Essien of Ghana and John Obi Mikel from Nigeria. Meanwhile, USA striker Jozy Altidore looks doubtful after he sustained an injury in training last week. But the news is that he might get fit in time for USA’s opener on June 12th. Italy’s Andrea Pirlo is almost certain to miss their opening game with a calf injury that he picked up during the friendly against Mexico. The final nail came when Portugal winger Nani was ruled out with just days to go for the tournament. He sustained a bruised collarbone during a pre tournament friendly against Cameroon. The other name in the doubtful list is of Brazilian keeper Julio Caesar who had an awkward fall in yet another friendly.

This spate of injuries has surely robbed us, fans, of some scintillating performances from some greates players of world football. Fans will surely miss the Beckham crosses, Ferdinand heroics, Nani’s tricks and Ballack’s industrious play. We can just hope to see many other names from the doubtful list to clear the air. We would obviously like to watch Drogba score some amazing goals and Robben do some magic for the Dutch. All said and done, there is still something to cheer for. We can wait to see Rooney, Torres, Messi and Ronaldo in the best of their forms. It is just 3 days to the world cup and I say, cheer up fellow fans. It is still worth the wait.

When I get older, I will be stronger,
They’ll call me freedom, just like a Waving Flag,
And then it goes back, and then it goes back,
And then it goes back…………………

Pradeep Sekhar