Flurry of Premier League Stars' Injuries Could Tarnish World Cup

Japan vs Ivory Coast

Just as the hype and excitement for the World Cup is building to a feverish pitch, over the last two days we have had to read devastating headlines about star players (most of them Premier League stalwarts or ex-EPL stars) going down to injury in exhibition warm-up matches.

Devastating because in the World Cup you want to see the best of the best out on the pitch, that is what this tournament is about, it is what makes it so special. But in the last 48 hours, the list of those that will or may not be in South Africa has become staggering.

  • Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United):  Ferdinand had replaced John Terry as England captain after the Chelsea star’s unscrupulous affairs made international headlines, and was set to appear in his fourth consecutive finals.  But a clash with Emile Heskey on the training ground on Friday has ruled him out of the Cup.  His season had been tarnished with injuries (started only 13 EPL matches) and this just puts the icing on the cake.  The only ball-playing CB for England, it will be interesting to see how the Three Lions cope without their captain.
  • Didier Drogba (Chelsea): Arguably the best striker in the world, Drogba is now trying to salvage his World Cup dream through emergency surgery after dislocating his elbow in a friendly against Japan. The 37-goal striker is coming off his best season ever, and is the heart and soul of the Ivory Coast squad. If he cannot return to action for the tournament, it could bury the Elephants’ chances of getting out of their “Group of Death” featuring Brazil, Portugal and North Korea.
  • Michael Essien (Chelsea): Having been plagued by injuries all season long for Chelsea, Essien tried to play his way back to get into the Ghana team, but failed to prove his fitness.  Ghana’s best player, Essien’s absence will severely hinder any hopes of Ghana returning to the knockout round where they were eliminated by Brazil in 2006.
  • Michael Ballack (Chelsea): Yet another pivotal Chelsea player, Germany captain Michael Ballack was ruled out of the tournamant after a vicious tackle from Portsmouth’s Kevin-Prince Boateng (Ghana) in the FA Cup final left Ballack’s ankle in smithereens.  So productive for his national side, Ballack’s injury leaves a gaping hole in midfield for the always-dangerous Germans.
  • John Obi Mikel (Chelsea): Are Chelsea footballers cursed for this World Cup?  While it was always going to be difficult for Mikel to feature for Nigeria after injuries derailed his Chelsea season in April, it has been confirmed that he will indeed not be traveling to South Africa after an undisclosed injury this morning.
    Arjen Robben of the Netherlands reacts after injuring himself during their international friendly soccer match against Hungary in Amsterdam
  • Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich, formerly Chelsea): And now the news this morning that Arjen Robben, Bayern’s wizard winger who at certain points single-handedly took the Munich giants to the Champions League final, has suffered a hamstring setback which could very well rule him out for Holland. While the Dutch have a plethora of playmakers, Robben is instrumental to their setup, and will be sorely missed this summer if he is out.

So there you have it.  The above players would make any manager’s starting lineups in the world, yet they could all be missing from world football’s biggest stage this summer.

When Argentina and Portugal were struggling to qualify, I thought to myself how tragic it would be to deprive the world of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the World Cup.  While not quite up to Messi and Ronaldo’s enormous stature, the players above are major international stars that will be sorely missed by not only their countries but by the whole world, because in a World Cup you want to see the very best out there in full health so that the greatest tournament possible is realized.

Sports can be so cruel sometimes.

20 thoughts on “Flurry of Premier League Stars' Injuries Could Tarnish World Cup”

  1. New stars will rise to replace them. Someone always steps up. There will be new household names in five weeks.

  2. Expect the inevitable onslaught of news stories and pundits pondering whether “the modern game demands too much of players, with so many games,” blah blah blah.

    That’s exactly what’s going to happen, even though little is different about “the modern game” of 2010 compared to 2006 or 2002 or 1998, etc. These injuries are just one big, weird coincidence. That’s all it is, yet you can bet we’ll see all these chin-stroking pieces expressing concern about “what we’re asking of our players these days” and so forth. Mark my words.

    And A. Ruiz is right — we’ll have new stars stepping up to replace these guys. When it comes down to it, the margins are small within top-level soccer. These injuries are simply open doors that allow some other guys to walk through and shine.

    1. I agree with you, although the number of injuries to Chelsea players is bizarre, and is sure to set off some of the tinfoil-hat-wearing types.

      It will have an effect – the Elephants chances of getting out of group without Drogba, for instance – but in the end, it is what it is. Great players get hurt all the time. Sometimes they struggle through at less than 100%, sometimes their teams have to make do without them. Some teams will have young players step up, some will let the distractions get to them. Ultimately, it’s just another day at the pinnacle of this particular sport.

  3. I like the positive spin on things by A Ruiz, it should be intriguing to see who steps up in place of these stars and becomes one themselves. Could be some big paydays for some relative unknowns if they shine at the Cup.

  4. I like the positive spin aswell, I tend to agree new stars will emerge, not in all cases but in most. I believe Ballack is the biggest loss from the above, to me he was the heart of the German side and his flexability with positioning was a great asset to Germany. Yes Drogba is currently one of the best strikers in the world, I believe Ballack does more for his team.

    The only thing I’m not to sure on is the stretch I feel you made with Robben, Robben first of all hasn’t played in the premiership in while, and I always thought Robben’s injury issues were due to his “glass ankles” not so much a hamstring problem. I guess I am nitpicking a little though…

    1. From the looks of the poll, the vast majority of people (at least those that come to this site) believe Drogba’s absence is the biggest. I agree.

      I had to include Robben because he is a big player and used to play in the EPL. The Dutch will miss him if he is out, but someone will step up.

      1. Apparently the vast majority in the US picked George W. Bush for president, dosn’t mean they’re right! 😀 All kidding aside, without a doubt Drogba is one of the top scorers in the world. Maybe its a different ideal in philosophy but, I just feel versatile players like Ballack (dispite his lack of success with Chelsea this year) was the bigger loss. He was the captain and heart of the German squad. People easily forget how much of an asset he can be on the attack because that role is reserved strictly for Lampard at the club level. Don’t wanna stand on the soap box too long but, I strongly feel Drogba is a player that can be replaced more easily.
        I see what you mean, I probably should of made post when I was in a better mood. For some reason the Robben thing came across strange and a bit of a stretch to me earlier.

      2. The Robben situation for the Dutch isn’t a problem in my opinion. The Dutch have a wealth of creativity in players in that advanced attacking midfield/second striker role that Robben plays. Just look at the names: Sneijder, van der Vaart, van Persie, Babel, Elia, et cetera. But in my opinion, Drogba is the least replaceable. Kalou and Dindane simply cannot touch Drogba for his natural goalscoring ability.

  5. I think overall, Drogba will be missed the most as a player, because he’s the most talented and exciting on the list. However, I voted for Robben because I think his injury may have the most impact. Holland has a much better chance of winning the tournament than does Ivory Coast, so therefore, the loss of one of their top players hurts their chances and the tournament more overall than does Drogba’s.

  6. Drogba’s absence basically destroys his country’s side (Portugal are the clear beneficiaries of this injury), so I’d have to say that his absence is most important. However, I think the Dutch could win the Cup, but only if Robben is healthy. Maybe they can coast through group E without Robben, giving him a few weeks to rest the hamstring, and then he can return in the knockout stage.

  7. Yes, wonderful perform, Patrick Dresslar. I think we have all felt forced to respond here because of the attractive.

    Hey, anybody know where I might find some World Cup 2010 streams?

  8. Haha, you can delete that post (and this one too) — you won’t offend me. I was just toying with the idiotic spammer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *