JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Switzerland captain Alex Frei will be on the bench for Friday’s World Cup Group H game against Honduras in Bloemfontein, said a team spokesman.
“We will start with the same lineup that played against Spain,” Marco von Ah told Reuters. “He (Frei) will be one of the first to go on if the result is going our way.”
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The strain of living up to the raised expectations of playing on home soil is the reason most African countries have underperformed at the World Cup, Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou said on Thursday.
Kalou said most African players had put a lot of pressure on themselves because the World Cup was being hosted on the continent for the first time.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Ghana will be out to save Africa’s honour by seizing the chance to qualify for the second round of the World Cup, coach Milovan Rajevac said on Tuesday.
After the elimination of host nation South Africa and local power houses Cameroon and Nigeria while Ivory Coast and Algeria need a miracle, Ghana stand a realistic chance to advance with a draw or win against group favourites Germany on Wednesday.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Midfielder Sulley Muntari has been reprimanded but allowed to stay with Ghana’s World Cup team following an outburst after the game against Australia, the national football association said on Monday.
Ghana FA denied reports by leading German sports magazine Kicker that Muntari was ordered out following an altercation with Ghana’s Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac in the team’s bus after the 1-1 draw on Saturday.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Brazilian and Ivorian players will have to keep their eyes on the ball not the 31 beauty queens who will be at the Soccer City stadium later on Sunday to avoid a repeat of a controversy surrounding Spain’s defeat last week.
British media had suggested the presence of Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas’ glamorous reporter girlfriend near the touchline had distracted him allowing Switzerland to score the winning goal in the first major upset of the World Cup.
VANDERBIJLPARK (Reuters) – Switzerland’s coach Ottmar Hitzfeld on Saturday warned his players not to let their win against Spain go to their heads with the unfancied team set to again be underdogs when they face Chile on Monday.
Unfancied Switzerland caused a major upset by beating then World Cup tournament favourite Spain in their opening game, and face Group H co-leaders Chile in their next game.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Injuries to defensive duo John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah have forced Ghana’s coach to make changes to his starting lineup for their second World Cup game against Australia on Saturday in Rustenburg in Group D.
Mensah, who captained Ghana in their 1-0 win against Serbia, picked up a knock in a pre-match training session on Friday and has been replaced by Jonathan Mensah, a 19-year-old hard-tackling centre back.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Ivory Coast’s trainer Sven-Goran Eriksson has hinted that striker Didier Drogba may be fit to start in their second World Cup game against Brazil on Sunday in Johannesburg despite a fractured arm.
“Do not be surprised if Didier Drogba starts the next game against Brazil,” Ivory Coast football federation (www.fif.ci.com) reported the Swedish coach saying.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Switzerland’s defender Philippe Senderos has been ruled out of their next two World Cup matches after injuring his ankle during the game against Spain, the team’s spokesman Marco von Ah said on Thursday.
Senderos limped out of the game in the 36th minute before the Swiss completed the biggest upset of the tournament with a 1-0 win over the European champions.
VANDERBIJLPARK, South Africa (Reuters) – A surprise win over World Cup favourites Spain has not turned Switzerland into world beaters overnight and their ambition is still to reach the next round, keeper Diego Benaglio said on Thursday.
“For us our objective has not changed. The win yesterday was very nice, very good for us, but our objective is to get through the first round,” Benaglio told journalists at the team base camp in Vanderbijlpark, about 90km South of Johannesburg.