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Lagerbäck and Eriksson rue key player injuries

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Lagerbäck and Eriksson rue key player injuries
Photo: Themba Hadebe/AP & Jean-Christophe Bott/AP
15:17 CEST+02:00
The Swedish coaches involved at the World Cup, Lars Lagerbäck and Sven-Göran Eriksson, have been left counting the cost of injuries to star players Jon Obi Mikel and Didier Drogba which could rule the pair out of the tournament.

Eriksson's the Ivory Coast saw off Japan 2-0 in a pre-World Cup friendly on Friday, but the game could prove costly as captain Didier Drogba looks likely to miss the World Cup after suffering a fractured forearm.

Drogba fired home an early deflected free-kick but then injured his right arm and was forced to go off after just 18 minutes following a seemingly innocuous clash with Brazilian-born Japanese defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka.

But the Ivorians have not given up hope of their talismanic star making a rapid recovery to feature in South Africa.

"Didier Drogba has not for the moment pulled out (of the squad)," the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) said in a statement on its website on Friday.

Elephants coach Eriksson expressed concern over the prospects of a recovery for the player who was rushed off to the Swiss town of Sion for a scan.

"Didier Drogba was injured just above the elbow. We do not know if he will be able to play the World Cup. Of course it is very worrying. He is our skipper and our best player. I have not as yet spoken to him but what is certain is that he was in

great pain."

Drogba will need to undergo an operation and the FIF will seek to schedule an appointment at the earliest opportunity to give the Chelsea striker the best possible chance of making South Africa.

While Drogba retains hope Nigeria coach Lars Lagerbäck will have to make do without midfield anchor Jon Obi Mikel after the Chelsea player ruled himself out of the tournament after failing to recover from an operation on a knee injury in April.

"We have ruled Mikel out of the World Cup squad after he has informed us that he does not want to risk his carrier as the knee injury has not healed properly," confirmed Emmanuel Attah at the Nigerian FA.

61-year-old Lars Lagerbäck signed a five month contract with the Super Eagles in February after failing to lead Sweden to the 2010 World Cup.

62-year-old Sven-Göran Eriksson was appointed as coach just three months before the start of the tournament after Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic paid the price for a 2010 African Nations Cup quarter-finals exit.

Eriksson has signed on until after the World Cup and on Saturday expressed his interest in the vacant Liverpool manager's post when the business in South Africa is complete.

"I have been a Liverpool fan all of my life. I never mentioned it when I was in charge of England because I didn't think it was fair," Eriksson told The Sun on Saturday.

"I was shocked when I discovered Rafa Benitez had left. Would I want to be

the manager of Liverpool? It is every manager's dream to manage Liverpool," he said.

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