9 Jun 2010

Portuguese star adds to growing list of players to be ruled out of football World Cup

6:28 am on 9 June 2010

The Portuguese winger Nani is the latest big name to drop out of the football World Cup, adding to a growing injury list full of international stars.

In a huge blow to Portugal's hopes of a first World Cup triumph, Nani was ruled out with a shoulder injury he picked up in training at home before flying to South Africa.

Other crowd-pullers like England's David Beckham, Germany's Michael Ballack and Ghana's Michael Essien pulled out long ago due to injuries and Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba and the Netherlands' Arjen Robben are fighting not to join them.

The African Footballer of the Year Drogba needs surgery on a fractured arm, but it is unclear if the striker will then be able to play for Ivory Coast, arguably the continent's best hope but heavily reliant on their talisman.

The Dutch winger Robben has hurt a hamstring but is hoping to join team-mates later in the tournament to help a nation that has never won the Cup despite its famously skilful teams.

The Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo, Australian winger Harry Kewell, Chilean striker Humberto Suazo, and South Korean forward Lee Dong-guk are others struggling to get fit.