Video evidence of the players falling like flies in the days just before the 2010 World Cup.With the World Cup under a week away from kicking off, many may have thought that teams would be taking it easy in their warm-up matches to ensure that they are peak condition for when the real business rolls into town.
Instead, a series of brutal tackles have been witnessed in the so-called friendlies in the past few days, with the three major victims being Didier Drogba, Yasuyuki Konno & Marko Marin.
1. Didier Drogba (Cote d'Ivoire): The most high profile injury was suffered by Chelsea's Ivorian forward in Friday's friendly with Japan. Going for a 50-50 ball with defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka, the Japanese defender actually managed to win the race to get his body to the ball first, only for Tulio's raised knee to clatter straight into Drogba's arm. The collision was accidental, but that mattered little to Drogba with the striker rumored to have fractured his arm in the process.
Should the worst materialize it would be difficult to see Drogba, carrying a cast on his arm, playing at the World Cup. And that would seriously torpedo the Ivorians' hopes of escaping their group ahead of either Brazil or Portugal.
Footage of Drogba's injury can be seen here.
2. Yasuyuki Konno (Japan): While attention fell on Drogba's injury during the Ivory Coast-Japan match, in fact there was a much more brutal foul which generally went under the radar.
27-year-old Japanese defender Yasuyuki Konno, who plays his football for FC Toyko, maybe one of the more modest players to have been selected to be in South Africa this summer, but his participation in the tournament now hangs in the balance after he fell victim to a horror foul from former Portsmouth striker Aruna Dindane. After playing a simple pass in-field from tight on the right hand touchline, Konno was clattered into Dindane in a reckless tackle that took the number 15 out by his ankles, and forced the utility player to leave the pitch on a stretcher.
Dindane's brutal tackle on Konno can be seen below:
3. Marko Marin (Germany): Werder Bremen's attacking left-winger Marko Marin also found himself victim of a fierce challenge when playing against Bosnia on Thursday night.
In the final stages of the match, with Joachim Loew's charges cruising to victory, Marin burst into the box as he sought to claim a fourth for the Germans. Sadly for Marin though his initial touch was a little too heavy, and that allowed Bosnian captain Emir Spahic the opportunity to snuff out the danger.
In a bruising challenge, Spahic managed to not only stop the immediate attack but also to steamroller over Marin. The German number 21 was left in a heap after falling on his neck, but that was only the beginning of the drama.
The ref blew his whistle after the coming-together which allowed Marin and Spahic to face off once they'd both got back on their feet. Marin, clearly upset, looked to get in the face of the Bosnian leader, who in turn cuffed the German round the side of the face with a cheeky slap. Amazingly, although right under the referee's nose, no red card was dished out the the Bosnian.
Footage of the clash between Emir Spahic and Marko Marin can be seen below:4. Arjen Robben (Netherlands): The most bizarre injury in the last few days arrived on Saturday in Holland's 6-1 thrashing of Hungary, as Oranje forward Arjen Robben was forced to limp out of the match minutes before the final whistle when an attempted backheel backfired badly.
Looking to play the entertaining showboat four minutes from time, Robben managed to tweak his hamstring while trying to show off his skills to leave coach Bert van Marwijk having to confirm that the 26-year-old Bayern Munich star will not travel with the rest of the squad to South Africa with the rest of the squad.
Footage of Arjen Robben's freak hamstring injury can be seen here.
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