World Cup chit-chat: England's Rodriguez out with injury
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Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez, who had been an outside bet for England's World Cup squad in June, has been ruled out for six months with a serious knee problem.
Rodriguez, 24, joins Arsenal and former Southampton winger Theo Walcott in missing out on a berth in England's squad because of the same injury.
"Southampton Football Club can confirm that, following his injury on Saturday against ManchesterCity, Jay Rodriguez has been diagnosed as having suffered a rupture to his anterior cruciate ligament," Southampton said in a statement on Monday.
"This will keep him out of action for six months and regrettably means he will not be fit for selection by the English national team at this summer's FIFA World Cup in Brazil."
Rodriguez had netted 15 league goals and been in fine form for eighth-placed Southampton, who continue to be one of the Premier League's surprise packages and had hoped to have four players in Roy Hodgson's squad.
Rodriguez's strike partner Rickie Lambert and left back Luke Shaw are hoping for the call while midfielder Adam Lallana has impressed so much in his short England career he is now likely to start in Brazil.
Lallana and Rodriguez made their international debuts together in a home friendly loss to Chile in November and while the striker was somewhat upstaged by his club colleague, he still remained in the hunt for a squad place.
Jermain Defoe's decision to move to Toronto FC in Major League Soccer made Rodriguez's chances of going to Brazil look more likely but now he faces an operation in the near future.
Southampton director Les Reed said: "Jay is naturally disappointed, but is determined to get back playing for Saints as soon as possible.
"Jay has asked us to pass on his gratitude to everybody who has shown him their concern and sympathy during the 48-or-so hours since his injury.
"Everyone at the club now wishes Jay well and we will support him, along with his family, to ensure that an international career plays a big part in his future."
Southampton lost 4-1 at City.
Image: Jay Rodriquez of England
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Brazil lagging in rush to overhaul World Cup airports
With less than 10 weeks until the start of the World Cup, work on crucial new airport terminals has fallen behind in most of the dozen Brazilian host cities, heightening the risk of overcrowding and confusion during the tournament.
A temporary canvas terminal will be used instead of a planned airport expansion to receive fans in Fortaleza, which will host six matches including Brazil's game against Mexico.
During President Dilma Rousseff's visit to an airport in Belo Horizonte, the site of a semi-final, officials admitted on Monday that construction would not be completed in time.
Back-up plans are also being prepared in other cities.
"Other airports have not said anything yet, but they will probably have to come up with contingencies," said Carlos Ozores, a principal at aviation consultancy ICF International who has consulted for Brazilian airlines and airport operators.
Concern over Brazil's airports is especially acute since they represent some of the tournament's most lasting investments. A host of other transportation projects have been scrapped or postponed, adding to criticism that the World Cup will leave few long-term benefits for ordinary Brazilians.
Soccer legend Pele said on Monday he worried that the state of Brazil's airports could ruin the opportunity presented by the tournament, adding that he was saddened to see rushed efforts when his country had years to prepare.
Quick fixes and last-minute deliveries are a recipe for chaos in the complex aviation industry, analysts say. Bungled openings of terminals from London to Denver took months to straighten out.
The stakes will be high in Brazil as more than 600,000 visitors arrive for the World Cup starting in June, one of the biggest sudden influxes the country has ever seen.
"People coming to Brazil are going to be shocked, especially Americans, by the how bad the airports are," said Paul Irvine, who runs travel agency Dehouche in Rio de Janeiro.
"There won't be any catastrophic issues ... but they will be chaotic and ugly as heck," he said.
Image: Planes are pictured at Rio de Janeiro's international airport
Photographs: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters