English Captain ruled out of World Cup

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Durban - English national soccer team captain, Rio Ferdinand, has become the latest player to be ruled out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at a crucial stage.

Ferdinand was on Friday replaced by Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard after sustaining a knee ligament injury during practise.

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard will assume the vice captaincy for England.

England manager Fabio Capello called on Tottenham Hotspur's defender Michael Dawson to replace Ferdinand and pair up with former captain John Terry.

England will take on Platinum Stars at the Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg ahead of their first World Cup clash against the USA next weekend.

Losing a captain during a critical period during the World Cup, though, is not a foreign concept for England.

In 1982 a chronic back injury ensured that Kevin Keegan missed the tournament. He lost his armband to Mike Mills.

Captain Marvel, Bryan Robson, endured two travesties which resulted in him exiting successive World Cups prematurely. In 1986, the Manchester United midfielder dislocated his shoulder and in 1990 he suffered an Achilles injury.

In 2002, around the height of the David Beckham hysteria, fans were crushed when the superstar broke a metatarsal in his foot during a Champions League game against Deportivo La Coruna while on Manchester United duty.

But he recovered in time to help England qualify for the quarterfinals in which Beckham's men succumbed to Brazil who went on to win the 2002 World Cup. Beckham took over captaincy in November 2000 and served his country until resigning after the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Michael Owen is yet another English star who knows World Cup disappointment only too well.
The former Liverpool striker only managed to play two games in the 2006 World Cup before being sent home early after tearing a ligament in his knee.

Meanwhile, Ivorian captain Didier Drogba is said to have recovered from an operation performed to mend his fractured arm.

The Chelsea talisman, who broke a bone close to his elbow on Friday while playing a friendly against Japan, remained doubtful for World Cup action in South Africa. Should Drogba, who holds an impressive recording of scoring 44 goals out of 69 appearances, fail to recover in time, Ivory Coast will no doubt feel the pressure.

Another Chelsea star left frustrated is Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel. He will miss the World Cup after failing to fully recover from left knee surgery and will be replaced by Ideye Brown.

Italy also have an injury concern in Andrea Pirlo, who damaged his calf in a warm up against Mexico, whom are set to take on Bafana Bafana in their opening game at Soccer City on June 11. The 2006 Italian hero is expected to travel to South Africa and will undergo further examinations.