Second opinion revives World Cup dream for Harte
David Harte received some of the "best news ever" as Ireland's star goalkeeper's World Cup dream came back into focus after a rough week.
The two-time world goalkeeper of the year looked set to be sitting out the main event - the Irish men's first since 1990 - following the diagnosis of a fractured fibula last Saturday evening.
He was hit by a stray ball from one of his team-mates in the warm-up for their tie against the Netherlands in Valencia as he took a break from a drill. It caught him on of the few unprotected parts of his anatomy, four inches above his ankle on the side of the leg.
It instantly ballooned up painfully but Harte initially did not think the worst until a precautionary trip to the hospital ended with the Cork man being told in broken English "fracture, break, minimum 40 days".
That diagnosis would have seen him all but certain to miss out on the World Cup which starts on November 30 with a tie against world number one Australia before further group games against England and China.
But he decided to get a second opinion, organising through his Dutch club SV Kampong a CT scan, cutting off the protective plaster. It revealed a far less severe conclusion - severe bruising and a large contusion but, crucially, no break.
He will have to spend between one and three weeks on the sidelines, working with physios daily and in the anti-gravity machine at Kampong. But it does mean he is likely to make it to the World Cup, a huge boost for Ireland to have available one of the greatest players ever to wear the jersey.
His injury aside, meanwhile, Harte feels the side are in a good place.
"Getting two big results against England, a good performance against the Spanish and going 2-0 up against the world number four side, the Netherlands; it showed we are going quite well and, from the week, we learned a lot about ourselves."