Germany suffered a major blow on Saturday ahead of the World Cup finals as an ankle injury ruled midfielder Marco Reus out of the tournament, announced the German Federation.
The 25-year-old Borussia Dortmund star, known as ‘Rolls Reus’ and scorer of seven goals in 21 appearances for Germany, suffered a slight tear to ankle ligaments shortly before half-time in Friday’s 6-1 friendly win over Armenia.
“Reus is obviously very disappointed to miss the World Cup and also for us it is a real blow,” said German coach Joachim Loew.
“When we learnt last night (Friday) that the injury was to the ligament, we knew his chances of going to the World Cup were over.”
Loew called up the 22-year-old central defender Shkodran Mustafi, capped just once and who plays for Serie A side Sampdoria.
“We are taking someone (Mustafi) who was with us at the training camp (in Italy) and who is into the rhythm of the squad,” said Loew.
Reus is the latest big star after Colombia’s talismanic striker Radamel Falcao, France winger Franck Ribery and Italian midfielder and AC Milan skipper Riccardo Montolivo to see his World Cup hopes dashed because of injury.
Gerrard revels in England captaincy
Steven Gerrard will captain England at a World Cup for the second time but believes Brazil will be the first tournament he holds the role ‘for real’, having not felt that previous manager Fabio Capello truly believed in him as skipper.
Liverpool midfielder Gerrard captained England in South Africa four years ago but only after first choice Rio Ferdinand was injured and John Terry was stripped of the role due to the controversy surrounding him at the time.
“Capello didn’t believe in me as his number one captain, while Roy [Hodgson] does,” said Gerrard.
“I think he did believe in me as a player and our relationship was totally fine. I enjoyed working under him, but at the time when he had to pick a captain we had Rio Ferdinand here and John Terry as well.”
Scolari defends 1-0 win over Serbia
Luiz Felipe Scolari defended his team’s World Cup preparations after sections of the crowd booed his players during a labored 1-0 win over Serbia on Friday.
“I think we come into this World cup in good shape,” said Scolari.
“Both teams went for it and I was very impressed with Serbia. There were some (boos) in Goiania as well,” he said, referring to the Panama match.
“It’s normal and the players don’t take it to heart. I think at the end, of the 67,000 fans 65,000 will go home satisfied.”
Meanwhile in the other matches played on Friday, ten-man Costa Rica played to a 1-1 draw with Ireland, Portugal snatched a late 1-0 win over Mexico, Greece downed Bolivia 2-1, Russia beat Morocco 2-0 and Japan won 4-3 against Zambia in their last World Cup warm-up.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2014.
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