World Cup News: James Milner Jinxed By New Nike Ad?

Today’s Soccerlens World Cup column is brought to you by the number ‘4’ and by the word ‘curse’.

There’s an awful lot, and I mean an awful lot of injury news doing the rounds this weekend.

Holland are the latest side to suffer the wrath of the dreaded Pre-World Cup casualty curse, after Arjen Robben (see below) hobbled out of their tune-up match against Hungary yesterday – although an injury to the former Chelsea man shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise, given that his skeleton seems to be made of warm chocolate.

Elsewhere, it would seem that sportswear giants Nike have put the kibosh on James Milner‘s World Cup dream – if their latest ad is anything to go by!

Anywhom, let’s crack on…

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Arjen’s injured, Robben him of his World Cup?


The aforementioned injury curse that has already ruled out the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Michael’s Essien and Ballack has struck once again – the latest unlucky victim being Holland’s glass-legged winger Arjen Robben.

The Oranje comprehensively dispatched Hungary in their final warm-up game before the World Cup with Robben, who only entered the fray at half-time, notching two of his countries goals – adding to strikes from Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Mark Van Bommel and Eljero Elia.

Then, just five minutes from time, ultra-confident Robben attempted a ‘flash Harry’ backheel, which ultimately resulted in him forlornly limping off the pitch with a strained hamstring.

The forward is now set to undergo a scan today to assess the extent of the injury but Holland coach Bert Van Marwijk seemed fairly resigned to the fact that the Bayern Munich man will not be fit to feature in South Africa;

“I would rather lose this match and have Arjen stay fit. He felt a sharp pain. That does not bode well. But I do not lose hope.”

Whilst we’re on the subject of injuries, Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel, Honduras’ Wilson Palacios and Italy’s Andrea Pirlo all look set to miss the tournament after sustaining knee, thigh and calf problems respectively during the past couple of days.

UPDATE: Switzerland’s Valon Behrami is another Premier League-based player that looks set to miss out on South Africa. The West Ham utility man has also suffered a hamstring strain, sustained during his countries friendly game against Italy yesterday evening.

Drog’s on the mend

There’s a little bit of positive news on the injury front today in that Didier Drogba’s surgery on the broken arm he sustained against Japan on Friday has been deemed ‘a success’ – although the Ivory Coast striker’s World Cup is still hanging in the balance.

The Ivory Coast Federation (FIF) issued the following update yesterday evening;

“Following the fracture of the ulna which Didier Drogba suffered [against Japan], he was today [Sat 5th June] admitted to the Lindenhof hospital in Berne.

He was taken care of by Professors Ralph Hertel and Michel Gaillot, eminent specialists in their area and the surgical operation, which was necessitated by his condition, was performed with success.

Professors Hertel and Gaillot, as well as the Elephants’ medical staff, are confident regarding the speedy recovery of the player.”

Follow this link to view the Beeb’s take on events.

Who’s next?…

This here is Nike’s Mount Rushmore-esque ‘3D Billboard’ World Cup advert that was recently unveiled in London…


Take a good, hard look at the picture. Study it for a few seconds.

Do you notice a pattern emerging? I’ll give you a clue: First – Theo, Second – Rio…

James Milner better start sleeping with one eye open!

(A doff of the cap goes to the always excellent Off The Post for this spot.)

Madness gone mad!

Following the spate of recent injury scares (see above) England coach Fabio Capello has confirmed that his is to risk his entire first-choice XI for ’45-60 minutes’ during a practice game against Bafokeng side Platinum All-Stars on Monday.

So said Fab;

“This is the job, these are friendly games but Rooney and Gerrard want to play. You have to prepare for the game against the USA, you have to be careful about the injuries but we have to prepare for the game.

[They] can play 45 minutes. I have to play all the players that will play against the USA. For 45 minutes, for 60 minutes. Is it a risk? I don’t know. I touch wood.”

And (I apologise in advance for this momentary lapse of decorum) the rest of the nation touches cloth.

Quote of the day…

“You didn’t see any cows walking around at the hotel in Germany.”

USA midfielder DaMarcus Beasley on the differences between the accommodation arrangements made by his country during the last two World Cups.

The fickle tentacles of fate…

The BBC have a very flash (quite literally) World Cup ‘Team Tracker’ prediction widget on their website that comes very highly rated by…well…me.

Once in action, it really is a joy to behold. You just have to choose your group/match winners then watch the multi-coloured ‘tentacles’ weave their wiggly magic.

Below is my humble effort. As you can see I’ve ended up with Spain rather predictably taking the title, but I didn’t really factor in any major upsets – or Spain’s perennial predilection to underachievement!


And in other news…

FIFA have announced the referee that will take charge of England’s opening game against the US on June 12th will be Brazilian whistle-jockey Carlos Simon.

Spain stopper Iker Casillas has criticised England’s goalkeeping ranks, stating that neither David James, Rob Green nor Joe Hart have the big-game mentality required to excel at the World Cup.

Soccerlens Fantasy Football

Fancy winning yourself £1600? Of course you bloomin’ well do.

The Soccerlens World Cup Fantasy Football Challenge offers you that opportunity (plus cash prizes for the runners-up) whilst also presenting you with the chance to secure the motherload of all bragging rights!

The 2010 World Cup on Soccerlens

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