Defending champions Spain pledge clean bill of health

Players guarantee physically potent display in World Cup.

Afp June 04, 2014
Spain will look to defend their World Cup title with doubts raised on player’s fitness and physical preparedness after a hard season with clubs. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: Spain’s players said that they will be fit for the defence of their World Cup crown in Brazil, despite the rigours of a long club season.

Right back Juanfran sprained his right ankle in the Champions League final that Atletico Madrid lost to Real Madrid on May 24, but he vowed he would be ‘100%’ healthy and ready for Brazil.

“I don’t have any problem, and I am 100% with the team,” the Atletico Madrid defender told a press conference in Washington, where Spain will train prior to a Saturday friendly against El Salvador.

The 29-year-old said he was limping in the wake of the painful injury, but insisted he was now recovered and had told Del Bosque, “When you need me, I’ll be there and I’ll do my best.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Santiago Cazorla doesn’t think Spain will be any less ready than their opponents.

“The season has been tough for everyone. I don’t think we are any more or less tired than the other teams,” said Cazorla, adding that Spain’s squad is ‘physically better every day’.

Brazil stroll against Panama

World Cup hosts Brazil strolled to a 4-0 win over Panama in their penultimate warm-up Tuesday, with goals from Neymar, Daniel Alves, Hulk and Willian securing the win which barely satisfied their coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

“I am still concerned. We are getting better — but we know we have a fair way to go,” said Scolari.

“The run out was worthwhile but we must up our rhythm and be a lot better for the Croatia game.”

Meanwhile, Greece and Nigeria battled to a scoreless draw on Tuesday in an international friendly match that served as a warm-up for both teams before the World Cup.

Every World Cup player to have drug test

Fifa is on an ambitious mission to make sure that for the first time every player who takes part in the World Cup has a drug test and carries a ‘biological passport’.

Players can expect a tap on the shoulder right from the first matches of the World Cup which starts June 12.

“We can test anybody, anytime, anywhere, any amount of times,” said Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer in a recent interview.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2014.

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