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Thursday, Aug 13th

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Michael Essien out of FIFA World Cup

Ghana's World Cup chances have been dealt a huge blow as their inspirational captain, Michael Essien was ruled out of the tournament following his failure to recover from a long term knee injury. He is the second Captain after Michael Ballack to miss out the chance to play in South Africa 2010. Ironically Ballack's team Germany are in the same group as Ghana, the 'Curse of the Group D' striking again.

Ghana Football Association issued a statement yesterday which said, "An evaluation by a combined team of medical experts from the Ghana Football Association and Chelsea Football Club revealed that Essien will not make full recovery until the end of July. The Ghana Football Association wishes him full recovery and a quick return to football action." Chelsea added: "Complications arising from the surgery have meant Michael's recovery has been slower than expected."

Essien will face a race against time to be fit to start of Chelsea's title defence in August.

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Denmark announces 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup

Denmark coach Morten Olsen announced the 23 member squad that will be going to South Africa to represent the country in the FIFA World Cup 2010. The ‘Olsen Gang' as they are fondly called recently played a friendly against Senegal which they won 2-0. The Danish Coach made all his final tweaks and adjustments after watching his team impress against the African nation. He dropped 4 members from his initial provisional squad just a couple of hours before his team's flight to the African continent for the showpiece event.

Olsen told reporters that his job was to select the best squad for the World Cup and was confident he had done so, but added that dropping the players 'was one of the toughest decisions he had made.' IFK Goteborg goalkeeper Kim Christensen was booted out of the team despite no.1 Thomas Sorensen's injury. Stefan Andersen from Brondby and Jesper Christiansen from FC Copenhagen have been preferred over the Sweden based Christensen who surprisingly started and shut out Senegal for the 45 minutes he spent on the pitch. FC Utretch's Michael Silderbauer also failed to make the cut. He is known to be versatile and can occupy a number of positions on the pitch. Forwards Mikkel Thygesen of Midtjylland and Morten Rasmussen of Celtic too didn't manage to make the 23 member squad as Olsen preferred to stick with a three man frontline and has chosen to pack the midfield.

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USA announce final 23 travelling to World Cup

USA coach Bob Bradley named his 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup on Thursday, out of which only 8 players have ever been to a World Cup finals before. The team consists of a few familiar faces such as Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Steve Cherundolo.

US goalkeeper Tim Howard was the Golden Glove winner of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and conceded less than a goal per game in 13 appearances in 2010 World Cup qualifying and surely a repeat of that performance will go a long way to enhance his reputation. Team captain Carlos Bocanegra - whose 12 career goals give him second place on the all-time scoring chart for U.S. defenders - is the third most capped player in the squad with 77 appearances and will be the steady and solid leader at the back. Oguchi Onyewu has made his return to action following a seven-month recovery from a ruptured patellar tendon suffered last October in a qualifier against Costa Rica. Jonathan Bornstein, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson and Jonathan Spector, will all be competing in their maiden FIFA World Cup.

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The Netherlands name squad of 23 for the World Cup

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk named his 23 man squad for the FIFA World Cup on Thursday. The Dutch football association released a statement revealing the absence of Orlando Engelaar, Defenders Vurnon Anita and Ron Vlaar, and AZ Alkmaar striker Jeremain Lens from the squad traveling to South Africa for the FIFA World Cup.

In defence, Marwijk has name 4 central defenders. Andre Ooijer, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen and Khalid Boulahrouz are the centre halves selected to sure up things at the back for the Oranje. Captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Edson Braafheid are the two players for the left back position while Gregory van der Wiel is there as the contender for the right back position with versatile Heitinga being a back up.

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FIFA World Cup Trophy welcomed by Nelson Mandela in South Africa

mandela.jpgOn 15 May 2004 the long walk to the 2010 FIFA World Cup started with Nelson Mandela lifting the FIFA World Cup in Zurich. With tears of joy in his eyes, he proclaimed that he felt `like a boy of 15` on the day South Africa was awarded the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Today (6 May 2010), nearly six years later, South Africa's first democratic President,` Madiba`, again laid his hands on the FIFA World Cup Trophy at Johannesburg's Nelson Mandela Foundation just 35 days before kick-off of Africa's first FIFA World Cup. For FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke and Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan it was a very special moment to personally share this moment.

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FIFA World Cup 2010 Draw

fifa_world_cup_draw.jpg

A thrilling draw of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was concluded today in Cape Town throwing up hordes of exciting matches. Hosts South Africa will kick-off the World Cup against 1970 and 1986 quarterfinalists Mexico, with France and Uruguay making up the other two teams in Group A.The French will see their 'good luck' at drawing arguably the easiest of the seeds as just rewards for being 'robbed' of a seeding by a late FIFA ruling to consider Team's October rankings instead of November's. The highlight of the draw, however, is easily Group G which features Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast and Portugal in one almighty Group of Death.

Group A:
South Africa (88)
Mexico (15)
Uruguay (19)
France (7)

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Charlize Theron to host FIFA World Cup Finals Draw

charlize_theron.jpgSouth Africa's Academy Award winner Charlize Theron will be the guest presenter assisting FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke during the Final Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Friday, 4 December 2009. They will be joined on stage by a star-studded line-up of sports celebrities, including football star David Beckham (England), one of only a few players to score in at least three consecutive FIFA World Cups, Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), two-time Olympic gold medallist and nine-time athletics world champion, Makhaya Ntini, the first black player in the South African cricket team, John Smit, the captain of rugby world champions South Africa and Bafana Bafana playe
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