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Rediff.com  » Sports » World Cup chit-chat: Germany's Reus out, Mustafi called up

World Cup chit-chat: Germany's Reus out, Mustafi called up

Last updated on: June 07, 2014 17:58 IST

World Cup: Germany's Reus out of World Cup, Mustafi called up

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Germany's World Cup hopes suffered a severe blow on Saturday when midfielder Marco Reus was ruled out of the tournament due to an ankle injury sustained in their final warm-up game.

Germany, who take on Ghana, Portugal and United States in Group G, leave for Brazil on Saturday evening with 22-year-old Sampdoria defender Shkodran Mustafi booking an unexpected last-minute ticket following Reus's injury.

Reus turned his ankle shortly before the break in their 6-1 victory over Armenia on Friday in Mainz, partially tearing the anterior ligament above his left ankle on the eve of the team's departure for Brazil.

"Both for him and for us it is extremely bitter," coach Joachim Loew told reporters.

"Marco was in top form and both in the training camp and in the friendlies against Cameroon and Armenia left an outstanding impression.

"He had played a central role in our planning for Brazil."

The lightning-quick Reus, who enjoyed a superb season at Borussia Dortmund, was seen as a key player in Germany's quest to claim their first international title in 18 years.

Mustafi, who won his only cap in May against Poland, was surprisingly part of the provisional squad but missed the cut as one of three players omitted from the final squad earlier this week.

"It was not about replacing Marco Reus in the same position," Loew added. "We have a lot of quality in that position and a lot of options with Lukas Podolski, Andre Schuerrle, Mario Goetze, Thomas Mueller, Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler and Toni Kroos.

"That is why we decided for an option in defence and Shkodran had been convincing in our training camp, he is fit and we have full confidence in him." 

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Image: German national soccer player Marco Reus
Photographs: Ina Fassbender/Reuters

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Bruno Alves heads last-gap winner for Portugal

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A stunning last-gasp header by Portugal's Bruno Alves earned his side a fortunate 1-0 win over fellow World Cup qualifiers Mexico in a warm-up match in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Friday.

The game looked set for a goalless draw when Bruno Alves soared to send an unstoppable header past goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in the 93rd minute from a cross by Joao Moutinho.

But Portugal, missing captain Cristiano Ronaldo who is suffering from tendinosis and a thigh injury, also had to thank their stopper Eduardo who gave an inspired performance.

Mexico dominated the second half but Eduardo kept them out with fine saves from Hector Herrera, twice, and Alan Pulido leaving the door open for Bruno Alves to grab the late winner.

Portugal looked dangerous in the first half and Mexico keeper Jose Corona, replaced by Ochoa at halftime, had to deny Vierinha and then Eder after Fabio Coentrao put him through.

Mexico came close to scoring before halftime though with a long-range effort from Andres Guardado that flew just wide of the far post with Eduardo scrambling across his goal.

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Image: Portugal players celebrates after Bruno Alves scores the winning goal in the final seconds of extra time in the second half against Mexico during their international friendly at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on Friday
Photographs: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

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Keeper Eduardo did well to thwart Mexico attack

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Portugal almost broke the deadlock five minutes after the break through Contrao but his close-range strike was blocked by Ochoa, who is battling with Corona for the starting spot.

Eduardo was then called on to make the first of three fantastic saves with a fine block just past the hour mark to deny Herrera, who was set up by substitute Javier Hernandez.

The keeper was called on again seven minutes later to stop another Herrera strike and in the last minute of regular time he pulled off a fine save to turn away Pulido's left-foot shot.

Portugal, who drew 0-0 with Greece in their previous friendly last Saturday, play a final warm-up against Ireland on Tuesday ahead of their Group G opener with Germany on June 16 before Paulo Bento's side face the United States and Ghana.

The result was a disappointment for Miguel Herrera, Mexico's fourth coach since September, as he suffered his second straight defeat in charge of 'El Tri' after an unbeaten eight-match run.

The Portugal match was Mexico's final warmup before their World Cup opener against Cameroon on June 13 in Natal. They also face hosts Brazil before a tricky clash with Croatia in Group A.

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Image: Portugal's goalkeeper Eduardo (left) stops a shot by Mexico's Alan Pulido (centre) as Portugal's Miguel Veloso looks on during their international friendly on Friday
Photographs: Brian Snyder/Reuters

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Germany crush Armenia as Klose breaks record

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Germany produced a dazzling display of attacking football to thrash Armenia 6-1 in their last World Cup warm-up on Friday but Marco Reus could be in doubt for the competition after twisting his ankle.

The Germans, looking to end an 18-year wait for an international title, scored all their goals in the second half after midfielder Reus was taken to hospital for checks after being injured in the 43rd minute.

Mario Goetze struck twice and Lukas Podolski, Andre Schuerrle, Benedikt Hoewedes and Miroslav Klose, who became his country's all-time top scorer with 69 goals, were also on target as the hosts hit five goals in 18 minutes.

"It was obvious we were much fresher today," coach Joachim Loew said, referring to Sunday's 2-2 draw with Cameroon. "In the second half we upped the tempo as well.

"When we switch on that turbo my team can do a lot of things. I am looking forward to the tournament."

Germany, who take on Portugal, Ghana and United States in World Cup Group G later this month, were without first-choice keeper Manuel Neuer who is recovering from a shoulder injury.

Neuer, expected to be fit for the group opener against Portugal, was replaced by Borussia Dortmund's Roman Weidenfeller for the second consecutive international.

The deputy keeper was rarely called into action as Germany took the initiative from the start. They missed early chances through Reus and Thomas Mueller, starting as the only forward with Klose on the bench.

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Image: Germany's Miroslav Klose celebrates his goal during their friendly soccer match against Armenia in Mainz on Friday
Photographs: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

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'If you win that first game then you can benefit from a big tailwind'

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Reus missed several good chances before he was hurt, an injury that instantly silenced the 27,000 crowd.

Schuerrle, who also scored on Sunday, gave the fans something to cheer when he drilled the ball in after 52 minutes following good work from Podolski.

Mesut Ozil, a second-half substitute after recent below-par performances, rattled the post with a low drive before Armenia levelled when Henrikh Mkhitaryan beat Dortmund teammate Weidenfeller with a 69th-minute penalty.

Germany then put their foot on the gas to fire five goals in an explosive finish.

Podolski, hitting top form at just the right time, picked up a clever pass from Ozil to score in the 71st minute before Hoewedes added another goal two minutes later.

"We have to be ready from the very first game," said Podolski after claiming his first international goal for more than a year.

"That is where it counts because if you win that first game then you can benefit from a big tailwind."

Klose, who came on as a substitute, broke Gerd Mueller's 40-year Germany record by notching a 69th goal on his 132nd appearance with a diving header.

Goetze completed the rout with a late double.

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Image: Germany's Jerome Boateng (right) challenges Armenia's Ghazaryan during their international friendly on Friday
Photographs: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

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Costa reveals Scolari did not offer him place in Brazil squad

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Spain striker Diego Costa has refuted Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's claims that he contacted him over playing the World Cup for the host nation.

The Brazil-born forward chose to represent Spain, where he plays his club football with Atletico Madrid, and made his debut for the team in a friendly against Italy last March.

He was a revelation in La Liga last season, hitting 36 goals, as Atletico won the league and reached the Champions League final, and he will be an important addition to Spain's armoury as they look to retain the World Cup.

Costa said that Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque convinced him to play for the reigning world champions while Scolari never approached him.

"Scolari never called me by telephone. The only coach that I spoke with was Del Bosque who showed interest in me, invited me for a meal and made me realise that I was in his plans," Costa told reporters in Washington, where Spain are preparing for the World Cup.

"I am Brazilian and that is not going to change but I want to win the World Cup with Spain."

Costa was responding to comments on Friday by Scolari who said that he wanted the striker to play for Brazil.

"I was going to call him up for the World Cup. Was I wrong? I don't know," Scolari told O Estado de Sao Paulo.

"He would be at the World Cup with Brazil. I spoke to him two times about it.

"The problem is that there are other interests behind everything. With Diego Costa a Spanish citizen it opens doors in Europe."

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Image: Spain players Fernando Torres, Diego Costa and Sergio Torres share a joke during a training session at the FedexField in Landover, Maryland on Friday
Photographs: David Ramos/Getty Images

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Shirokov to lead as Capello trims Russia squad

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Russia coach Fabio Capello has named his final 23-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil, with the Italian unsurprisingly dropping Denis Cheryshev and Pavel Mogilevets from his provisional list on Monday.

Real Madrid's Cheryshev has been on a season-long loan at Sevilla but missed the La Liga side's Europa League triumph against Benfica through injury to cap a miserable campaign in which the 23-year-old winger managed just 139 minutes of action.

Central midfielder Mogilevets's omission was also expected, with the 21-year-old only making his senior debut as a substitute in a friendly international against Slovakia last week.

However, Mogilevets, who has shown good form since joining Rubin Kazan on loan from Zenit St. Petersburg earlier this year, will still travel to Brazil with the squad as part of Russia's official delegation.

He will take part in training and be included on the list of players on standby, in case of any injuries.

Krasnodar midfielder and Russian captain Roman Shirokov was included in the final squad despite failing to feature in the warm-up matches against Slovakia and Norway as the 32-year-old recovers from an Achilles tendon injury.

Capello's side will play one final friendly against Morocco in Moscow on the June 6 before departing for Brazil, where they have been drawn in Group H alongside South Korea, Belgium and Algeria.

Their opening game of the tournament will be against the Koreans in Cuiaba on June 17, marking Russia's first appearance at a World Cup finals in 12 years.

Russia squad:

Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Yury Lodygin (Zenit St. Petersburg), Sergey Ryzhikov (Rubin Kazan)

Defenders: Vasili Berezutskiy (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Granat (Dynamo Moscow), Andrey Eshchenko (Anzhi Makhachkala), Sergey Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Alexey Kozlov (Dynamo Moscow), Dmitry Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Andrey Semenov (Terek Grozny), Georgi Schennikov (CSKA Moscow)

Midfielders: Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moscow), Igor Denisov (Dynamo Moscow), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow), Yury Zhirkov (Dynamo Moscow), Alexey Ionov (Dynamo Moscow), Alexander Samedov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Victor Faizulin (Zenit St. Petersburg), Oleg Shatov (Zenit St. Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (Krasnodar)

Forwards: Maxim Kanunnikov (Amkar Perm), Alexander Kerzhakov (Zenit St.Petersburg), Alexander Kokorin (Dynamo Moscow).


Image: Roman Shirokov of Russia
Photographs: Francois Nel/Getty Images

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