Thursday 23 November 2017

Khedira hit by injury blow

Germany and Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira's World Cup hopes hang in the balance after he was ruled out for around six months with a torn cruciate ligament suffered in Friday's 1-1 draw against Italy, doctors said.

Khedira, who also tore another ligament in his right knee during the incident, will undergo surgery.

"He will need to be operated on but we are hopeful he could be fit in time for the World Cup," team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt said.

"This is a bitter setback for Sami. But I am optimistic he will be ready and fit when the World Cup starts," coach Joachim Loew said.


Argentina were held to a goalless draw in a friendly with Ecuador in the Metlife Stadium in New Jersey.

An Argentina team which included Facundo Roncaglia and Lucas Orban struggled in the first half but Alejandro Sabbela's side came more into the game after the break.

Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria led the attack in the second half but failed to break the deadlock. Missing the injured Lionel Messi, the closest they came to a goal was when Maximiliano Rodriguez hit the post with a volley from close range.


Defender Phil Jones will miss England's friendly against Germany at Wembley on Tuesday after sustaining a groin injury in the 2-0 defeat by Chile.

The Manchester United player was replaced by clubmate Chris Smalling in the second half against Chile at Wembley on Friday and the FA said that Jones had returned to his club for treatment. Two other United players, Michael Carrick and Danny Welbeck, are already ruled out.


Nigeria became the first African country to qualify for next year's World Cup finals after a 2-0 home win over Ethiopia in their playoff in Calabar.

Victor Moses converted a 20th-minute penalty and Victor Obinna added a superb 82nd-minute free kick for the second-leg success and a 4-1 aggregate win in the two-legged tie after Nigeria also won in Addis Ababa in last month's first leg. Nigeria qualify for a fifth World Cup finals appearance in Brazil, having played in four of the last five tournaments.

The Ivory Coast also celebrated qualifying for a third straight World Cup after beating Senegal 4-2 on aggregate in a play-off for next year's finals after an exciting 1-1 draw in the second leg. Moussa Sow's 77th-minute penalty in Casablanca set up a dramatic finish as Senegal tried to claw back a two-goal deficit from last month's 3-1 first-leg defeat but Salomon Kalou struck a last-gasp equaliser on the night as the Ivorians went through.


Former France players were queuing up to put the boot into their successors after a 2-0 defeat in Ukraine left Les Bleus on the verge of missing next year's World Cup finals.

"They have shown us they do not have the level to be in Brazil because they could not get through an encounter like that," said Franck Leboeuf, who played centre-back in France's 1998 World Cup-winning team.

Many others joined the former Chelsea player in questioning France's level of commitment to the team.

"We were beaten in almost every aspect – beaten for pace, winning the ball back and in the tackles, we really struggled all over," said former striker Bernard Lacombe, a 1984 European Championship winner.


Wolves are the new League One leaders after capitalising on a first home league defeat for Leyton Orient by beating Notts County 1-0 at Meadow Lane.

Ethan Ebanks-Landell scored the only goal of the game in the 76th minute to lift Kenny Jackett's men above early pacesetters Orient and a point clear at the top the table.

Promotion hopefuls Brentford dispatched struggling Crewe 5-0 at Griffin Park to go fourth with the help of a brace from Clayton Donaldson.

Sunday Independent

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