Yesterday, Spanish National Football Team Coach, Vicente del Bosque, chose to risk bringing a still ailing Diego Costa to Brazil's World Cup 2014 on his 23-man final team roster. The Atletico Madrid striker showed no ill-effects of his thigh injury when he trained with the team.
MailOnline.com (UK) quoted the Brazilian born Spanish forward's comments about his injury and recuperation and his chances to be fit on time for the tournament: "I didn't think they would let me train from the start, but we did some test and I'm well. I think I can be fit for the match against the Netherlands [June 13th] even for the friendly in Washington."
Spain face El Salvador at FedEx Field in the Washington DC suburbs this Saturday, June 7th.
Costa is one of a growing list of superstars who are battling injury ahead of the cup that includes players whose absence would change their teams' complexions overnight.
Last night, Colombian National Football Team Coach, Jose Pekerman made the tough decision of leaving injured and not yet recovered star striker, Radamel Falcao, off the 23-player roster that will travel to Brazil to play in World Cup 2014.
Falcao, one of the handful of truly gifted goal scorers in the world, was a key part of Colombia's hopes in the tournament and only their weak group gives them hope of moving on to the Round of 16. At that point, they will likely meet Italy or Uruguay. Italy just suffered the loss of Riccardo Montolivo to a broken leg and Uruguay is still holding its breath hoping Luis Suarez recuperates from knee surgery in time to play. But either team should be considered a favorite over Colombia without Falcao.
According to Colombian newspaper El Pais, Falcao said "Now I'll have to support the team from afar and I wish them well, hoping they play a good World Cup." Pekerman, on his side, characterized the emotional decision as "the saddest day I've had since becoming Colombia's coach."
It looks increasingly likely that Cristiano Ronaldo will miss Portugal's June 16th opener against Germany as the current Ballon d' Or holder is still fighting to regain fitness. He missed the team's 0-0 draw with Greece, and has yet to practice with the team. The medical staff is working daily with the star and the coaching staff is already working on contingency line ups. The Portuguese Football Federation said both Ronaldo and Pepe had undergone MRI scans that showed both were recovering well from their respective injuries. Nevertheless, tweeting a photo of himself and his son, Cristiano Jr., along with a simple message "Happy to spend Children's Day with my son," the striker did not seem overly preoccupied himself.
French and Bayern Munich midfield superstar Frank Ribery, a Ballon d' Or finalist in 2013, is having back problems again. The injury reared its head during the recently completed Bundesliga season and has been an on again/off again issue for him. He missed France's 4-0 dismantling of Norway this past Tuesday and sat on the bench on Sunday for France's 1-1 draw with Paraguay. Nevertheless, Ribery was on coach Didier Deschamps' 23-man squad, announced yesterday, which will travel to Brazil.
Netherlands and Swansea City midfielder, Jonathan De Guzman, injured his hamstrings in training as despite being named to coach Louis van Gaal's 23-man squad, is still battling to reach fitness for the Dutch team's opening game against Spain June 13th.
Finally 23-man roster member, Kolo Toure, the Liverpool and Ivory Coast defender, and brother to Yaya Toure, the Manchester City and national team midfielder, is recovering from a bout of Malaria and team doctors are hopeful he will recover fully if not in time for their opener against Japan, June 14th, then soon thereafter.