It’s every player’s dream to play at the very highest level in international football, and it doesn’t get any higher than the Fifa World Cup—and it’s a every fan’s dream too to watch the biggest competition on the planet.
The in just four days’ time, the next World Cup kicks off in the Brazil and the whole world will turn the attention to the ‘home of football’ for what promises to be an action-packed tournament—but one that could be remembered most for the wrong reasons.
The buildup to this year’s showpiece has been blighted by a string of high-profile casualties as well protests by the locals, who are not happy that their country is spending billions of dollars to host the World Cup majority of Brazilians survive on less than one dollar a day.
The biggest casualty will definitely be France’s Franck Ribery, who was ruled out of the tournament on Friday due back injury.
News of Ribery’s misfortune was broken on a day when underground railway network workers, bus driver and teachers staged a violent protest in Sao Paolo, a city that will host the opening game on June 12 between Brazil and Croatia.
While the Bayern Munich forward Ribery, who was third behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the Fifa Ballon d’Or award, will be a major blow for Didier Deschamps’ teams, another superstar going to be missed in Brazil is Colombia striker Ramadel Falcao.
The 28-year old Colombia’s captain and talisman damaged an anterior cruciate ligament in January while playing for Monaco.
Also, Belgium, a team tipped by many to be one of the tournament’s surprise packages will be without key striker Christian Benteke.
The Aston Villa forwards, as a central point for Belgium’s attack in their qualifying campaign, but the ruptured his achilles tendon in training, which leave Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku the main source for goals.
Holland midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, the most experienced current Dutch player, picked up a calf injury in training last week and won’t be in Brazil for what going to be his final World Cup.
For England, they will be without Arsenal forward Theo Walcott, who required surgery to repair the cruciate ligament injury sustained in Arsenal’s FA Cup win over Tottenham in January.
Italy midfielder Riccardo Montolivo is out too after breaking a leg in the Azzurri’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland last Saturday, and his manager Cesare Prandelli was left a “broken man”.
Germany’s midfielder Marco Reus is also out of the World Cup after suffering a partial ligament tear of his left ankle ligament in a warm-up game against Armenia on Friday.
Not fully fit stars
Whereas the fans across the world will be concerned by the absence of some of the biggest names in the game, we can take heart from the fact that the biggest of them all, Messi and Ronaldo will be on the plane with their teams to Brazil.
Argentina captain Messi will no doubt be the biggest attraction alongside his Portuguese archrival Ronaldo as well as Brazil’s poster-boy Neymar.
Portugal coach Beto has big concern with the fitness of his captain and talisman Ronaldo, who could play at the tournament when he is not fit 100 percent.
The reigning World Player of Year Worryingly has suffered some minor injuries was rested for their friendly against Greece and Mexico as well and Portugal’s training sessions after complaining of strong pain in his left thigh.
Other superstars, who will be in Brazil but when not 100 percent fit include England striker Wayne Rooney and Dutch captain Robin Van Persie.
World Cup holders Spain too, are sweating on the fitness of Brazil-born striker Diego Costa. And what do we have say about Luis Suarez—the Uruguay striker, who when fit, is capable of frightening any defence.
He’s just had a fantastic season with Liverpool, but suffered a serious knee injury in the final game of the Premier League campaign against Newcastle United and it required an operation a few weeks ago, which leaves him little time for full recovery.