With the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil drawing near, we focus on five squads coming in with extensive injuries.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Forward: The global soccer icon has been bothered by knee and thigh ailments and has been held out of exhibition matches. However, it has been reported that Ronaldo has returned to training, which is certainly a big plus for Portugal’s chances in Brazil, as well as for FIFA’s marketing purposes.
Raul Meireles, Midfielder
Marco Reus, Midfielder: Reus will miss FIFA 2014 due to a partial ligament tear suffered during the first half of Germany’s 6-1 victory over Armenia. Reus is coming off a breakout season with Borussia Dortmund, in which he finished with 23 goals and 18 assists. Reus is considered the club’s top playmaker.
Manuel Neuer, Goalkeeper: The club’s prized goalkeeper, Neuer has been held out of Germany’s recent exhibition matches due to shoulder problems. However, the club is confident that Neuer will be ready when the real games begin.
Ilkay Gundogan, Midfielder
Holger Badstuber, Defender
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Forward/Mid-Fielder: Injured in England’s 2-2 draw with Equador, Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to miss group play. However, he is reportedly making progress, and should be a real boost for England if he returns. Manager Roy Hodgon has until Friday to decide whether or not to include Oxlade-Chamberlain in the World-Cup roster.
Theo Walcott, Forward/Mid-Fielder: The speedy arsenal star will be absent from FIFA 2014 due to an cruciate ligament injury suffered in January.
Andros Townsend, Midfielder
Jay Rodriguez, Forward
Kyler Walker, Defender
Diego Costa, Forward: Costa is reeling from a hamstring injury that held him out of the Champion League final. Costa did however, take part in Spain’s exhibition versus El Salvador, which is a positive sign.
Thiago Alcantara, Midfielder
Victor Valdes, Goalkeeper
Kevin Strootman, Midfielder: Strootman, Robin van Persie, and Arjen Robben are considered by manager Louis van Gaal to be the dutch ‘big three. However, Strootman will not be to complete the trio in Brazil after receiving ACL surgery in March.
Rafael van der Vaart, Midfielder
Gregory van der Wiel, Defender
Jetro Williams, Defender