6 Jun 2010

Mikel gone as Chelsea Cup curse continues

12:20 pm on 6 June 2010

Nigeria's John Obi Mikel of Chelsea is the latest player to be ruled out of the World Cup with a badly bruised ankle. Dutch winger Arjen Robben's in doubt too, while the All Whites' first finals opponent Slovakia also suffered an injury scare.

The 23-year-old midfielder Mikel suffered the injury in training as the Chelsea players' World Cup curse continues, after Ghana's Michael Essien and German captain Michael Ballack both pulled out with injuries.

Now the former Blues winger Robben's in doubt for the Netherlands with a hamstring strain.

Robben, a Champions League finalists with current club Bayern Munich, copped the injury in the Dutch team's 6-1 friendly thrashing of Hungary.

Ivory Coast captain - and Chelsea striker - Didier Drogba has undergone a successful operation on his fractured elbow although his team won't say whether he'll be able to play at the World Cup.

Slovakia's 3-0 friendly win against Costa Rica came at a cost but it's not set to be too pricey with their Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel injuring an ankle.

Skrtel should be fit for South Africa, after a scan showed no serious damage.

Hosts South Africa have kept their winning streak alive, beating Denmark 1-0 in another friendly at home in Atteridgeville.

It's a remarkable turnaround in form over the last nine months under the World Cup-winning Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, with South Africa now going 12 games without defeat.

Australia also lost 3-1 to the United States in both sides' final Cup warmup, at Roodepoort in South Africa.