Ramadan test for World Cup's Muslim players

Several of the competition's Muslim players will be faced with the difficult task of fasting, with so far only Algeria voicing their desire to commit to the religious obligation
The Muslim month of Ramadan, which began on June 29, also marks the start of the ritual fasting by followers of the religion, who will abstain from consuming food and drinks during daylight hours.

For Muslim players representing their nations in Brazil, the clash of religious obligations and World Cup glory has put them in a difficult spot.

Algeria, the last remaining largely Muslim team, will be in action against Germany in the Round of 16 tie against Germany, and most of the side's players will commit to fasting.

Provisions are given by Islamic religious authorities, with an option for those who are unable to fast during Ramadan to do so at a later date, while in certain circumstances exemptions are also granted.

The United Arab Emirates men's football team at the 2012 London Olympics were allowed to skip fasting with the sports event coinciding with Ramadan that year.

While the Algerian team will be observing fasting, several other prominent Muslim players at the tournament have opted not to.

Germany's Mesut Ozil, a devout Muslim, told reporters during a press conference last week, that he will skip fasting this year.

"I can't take part, because I am working," he said. "It will be impossible for me to take part this year."

France who boast of several Muslim players as well might be affected, although defender Bacary Sagna has also stated that he will not be fasting.

"As a Muslim I know some laws allow you to avoid fasting," he told reporters. "I will not fast but I respect those who will practise it."

Some of the other remaining Muslim players at the World Cup include, Karim Benzema, Mamadou Sakho and Moussa Sissoko of France; Germany's Sami Khedira; Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland; and Belgium trio Mousa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, and Adnan Januzaj.

Meanwhile, Algeria will be relying on Hakim Chalabi, Fifa's leading experts on fasting, to help their players cope with the effects of fasting during the competition.