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Ivory Coast sweat on fitness of injured Drog

Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson faces an anxious wait on the fitness of captain Didier Drogba after it was confirmed the Chelsea striker had broken his arm.

Drogba (pictured) was forced out of the Ivorians' World Cup warm-up game against Japan in Sion, Switzerland, yesterday in the 17th minute, leaving the field clutching his right arm.

There were fears the Chelsea striker would miss the World Cup but the country's federation are confident Drogba will be able to play some part in the finals, amid reports the 32-year-old has undergone surgery.

An Ivory Coast statement read: "He was taken urgently to a medical centre in Sion, where X-rays revealed a fracture in the player's right forearm area.

"Didier Drogba's state of health is the object of all the attention of the Elephants' medical staff and of distinguished specialists.

"The Ivory Coast Football Federation stress that the striker, Didier Drogba, has not, for the moment, been ruled out of the 2010 World Cup."

Earlier in the day a national federation spokesman revealed they were awaiting further medical tests, but claimed Drogba could even feature when they kick off their World Cup campaign against Portugal on June 15.

"He's not at all out of the World Cup," he said. "He can still play.

"We don't know if he will be able to play the first game -- that depends on the verdict of the medical team. But he's definitely not out (of the tournament)."

It is nevertheless a devastating blow to Ivory Coast's hopes of qualifying from Group G which, in addition to Portugal, also contains five-time World Cup winners Brazil and North Korea.

Drogba has scored 44 goals in 69 appearances for his country and hit 37 for Chelsea in all competitions as Carlo Ancelotti's men landed their first ever Premier League and FA Cup double last season.

Eriksson said after the game: "It's an elbow injury for sure. How bad it is, I don't know. He had a lot of pain."

Drogba went down clutching his arm following a challenge from Japan central defender Tulio shortly after giving the Elephants the lead.

"Of course I am worried, he's our captain and one of the best players in the world," added former England boss Eriksson, who attached no blame to Tulio. "It was unlucky, he didn't want to hurt anyone. Football is a game of contact."

Ivory Coast ended up winning the game against Japan 2-0, with Manchester City defender Kolo Toure adding a late second.

Kaka defends Cup ball with a kiss

Kaka kissed the controversial Jabulani World Cup ball which has been criticised by some of his Brazil team mates. Kaka, advertising face of Jabulani makers Adidas, was handed the ball by a reporter during the news conference at the Brazil team's hotel and kissed it in front of dozens of cameras.

"I'm not going to criticise the Cup ball," the 28-year-old Real Madrid playmaker said. "Everything that's new, new technology, makes a different impression. At first, opinions were critical, but who knows if that won't change during the World Cup.

Goalkeeper Julio Cesar said the Jabulani resembled a supermarket ball after practising with it for the first time and striker Luis Fabiano said it was "supernatural" because of twists and turns it made in the air.

France rocked by shock China loss

France slumped to a surprise 1-0 defeat by China in their final World Cup warm-up yesterday. The former world champions, playing on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion for the first time, did nothing to suggest they could make an impact at the June 11-July 11 finals in South Africa.

China, who did not qualify for the World Cup, scored against the run of play in the 68th minute through midfielder Deng Zhuoxiang's 25m free kick.


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