French media sources have performed a swift u-turn on the news that Didier Drogba has been ruled out of the World Cup after sustaining a fractured elbow in the first 20 minutes of Cote d’Ivoire’s friendly encounter with Japan in Sion, Switzerland earlier today.
L'Equipe and Canal+ both claimed that the Chelsea striker's hopes of playing had completely vanished after Ivory Coast boss Sven-Goran Eriksson had earlier confirmed the injury and admitted he was "concerned" about his skipper's hopes of competing in South Africa.
However, L'Equipe has now proclaimed that Drogba will undergo surgery and could be fit in ten days. Indeed, the publication goes as far to say that "[Drogba] could well participate in the first match for the Elephants, which is against Portugal on June 15."
With only a quarter of an hour gone in the game, Drogba clashed with Japanese defender Tulio, leaving him a little dazed. Tulio, the scorer of both a goal and an own goal against England last week, went for the ball with his leg raised, while Drogba's right arm came up simultaneously. The resulting collision between the Ivorian's elbow and Tulio's knee was purely accidental, but the Chelsea forward was ultimately withdrawn due to the injury. CSKA Moscow’s Seydou Doumbia was quickly brought into the frey.
Drogba, who is rated as the third best player in the world by the Castrol Rankings, had already made his influence tell in the early stages of the game, when his free kick was deflected home by Brazilian-born Tulio.
Despite the loss of Drogba, the Ivorians went on to win the game, which was played over three 45 minute periods, 2-0, though they will not relish a trip to South Africa without their recognised star forward.
Footage of Didier Drogba's injury can be seen here with highlights of Ivory Coast-Japan available here.