The threat of injury so close to a World Cup

With domestic campaigns in Europe coming to a crescendo over the next couple of weeks, titles will be decided, clubs are battling to qualify for Champions League qualification and an unlucky few will face relegation.

However, with the World Cup in Brazil less than two months away, potential participants now toe the line of potential heartache.

Any injury so close to the tournament will truly inhibit a player’s preparations and put their chance of competing in real doubt.

There have been a number of cases recently of clubs starting to wrap their players in cotton wool and stories of players doing all they can to avoid injury.

With Manchester United’s season all-but over, the club is expected to rest Wayne Rooney’s toe injury to ensure the England star can feature in Brazil.

When Yaya Touré picked up a groin strain against Liverpool on Sunday, thoughts immediately headed towards whether the Ivory Coast star’s chances of playing this summer could be in danger.

When asked about Edinson Cavani’s underwhelming showings for Paris Saint-Germain recently, coach Laurent Blanc stated that the Uruguay international had suffered serious injury before and was concerned that he could well have a recurrence that could threaten his place at the World Cup.

Despite the likelihood that Rooney, Touré and Cavani will be present in Brazil this summer, others are not as lucky.

With more players being added to the venerable list on a weekly basis and it set to increase, a host of star-studded names will be forced to watch their countries this summer from the sidelines.

Radamel FalcaoRadamel Falcao was one of the early casualties, damaging knee ligaments at the turn of the year and diagnosed to be unable to play in Brazil. The Colombian will be cutting it fine, but has an outside chance of returning to action in time.

Germany are sweating on the fitness of two top-drawer central midfielders ahead of their quest to win the tournament. Sami Khedira damaged his knee ligaments in November but is set to start training against for Real Madrid soon; for İlkay Gündoğan his injury’s proximity is too close to the tournament, with the Borussia Dortmund man ruled out.

England have already been robbed of Theo Walcott’s services after the Arsenal winger picked up injury in the North London derby at the turn of the year, while promising Southampton attacker Jay Rodriguez is now also unavailable.

Belgium were expected to have Christian Benteke leading their line, but have been robbed of the Aston Villa striker’s services after he ruptured his Achilles tendon.

With Iker Casillas not playing regularly for Real Madrid, Víctor Valdés had an outside chance to play for Spain, but the Barcelona man was stretchered off against Celta Vigo last month and will not travel to Brazil.

Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman has been one of the in-form midfielders in this season’s Serie A campaign and was expected to be a driving force for the Netherlands in Brazil.

However, the influential midfielder suffered a serious knee injury against Napoli in March and will not participate. Louis van Gaal has also been robbed of the services of promising PSV Eindhoven full-back Jetro Willems after the defender picked up a knee injury at the weekend.

Finally, Giuseppe Rossi’s chances of being a star for Italy hang in the balance. The gifted but injury prone forward suffered what looked like another hammer blow earlier this season that threatened his place in Brazil.

However, following rehabilitation the Fiorentina star is back in training and will hope to stay injury free and win a spot in Cesare Prandelli’s squad this summer.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo,, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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