Andrea Pirlo, Didier Drogba: Why many key players may miss World Cup 2010
Italy's Andrea Pirlo, Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba, England's David Beckham, and Rio Ferdinand are all out of the World Cup – or listed as questionable. Here's a rundown of other key players who may miss the Cup.
In Pictures Ready for the World Cup
2011 Reflections: Suddenly, a new era in the Middle East
2011 Reflections: the end of a landmark year for Latin America
2011 Reflections: Africa rises, taking charge of its affairs
How the 'Year of the Protester' played out in Europe
In Prague, a tale of communism past
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Mr. Pirlo sustained a calf strain Friday. The team doctor told reporters that Pirlo will miss Italy’s June 14 opener against Paraguay. And his availability for Italy's second match, against Slovakia, remains in question.
But Pirlo is far from alone.
Some of the world's biggest stars will miss early games due to injuries and others have just recently been knocked out of the Cup altogether. And their absence could have a huge effect on some of the top-ranked teams in the tournament, which begins Friday in South Africa.
To date, every World Cup held outside Europe has been won by a South American team. Will that pattern continue? A healthy Argentina team and nearly healthy Brazil team help their prospects as the best European teams are now hampered with injuries.
Here's a rundown of key players who may miss the World Cup – or at least the opening matches.
ITALY: Pirlo, winner of the Bronze Ball in the 2006 World Cup, was integral to Italy’s championship at that tournament in Germany. But his potential absence isn't the team's only concern. Midfielders Mauro Camoranesi, Claudio Marchisio, and Angelo Palombo are facing injuries, according to Sky Sports.
IVORY COAST: Didier Drogba broke his forearm Friday and underwent surgery Saturday. He is one of the world's top strikers and highest paid players (as a member of English Premier League champions, Chelsea). Mr. Drogba hopes to return in time for the June 15 opener against Portugal.