Rio Ferdinand, the England World Cup captain, injured his knee during practice Friday. Ferdinand injured his knee due to a collision that took place late in Friday’s training session at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus. Ferdinand was taken to the hospital to have the knee scanned, but it is still unclear how injured that knee might be at this time. This is definitely not news that the English team or their fans wanted to hear as the country gets ready for their match against the United States next Saturday. The England vs. USA match will be the first in Group C play, and is considered by many to be the game that will decide the winner of this Group at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The situation with Ferdinand isn’t the only injury bug that has bitten England recently either, as midfielder Gareth Barry is still trying to get back to full strength after injuring his ankle last month, and goalie David James is also working on a knee problem that the team has not elaborated on at this time. All three players are on the 23-man World Cup roster for England, and could be crucial components to their success in the tournament. With only a single week left to prepare for the opening of the 2010 World Cup on June 11th, these injuries are coming at a very inopportune time.
England isn’t the only team suffering from injuries right now, as Team USA was dealt a blow when forward Jozy Altidore sprained his ankle during training on Wednesday. He ended up missing Thursday’s practice with the team, and the only positive news out of that situation was that the X-rays done on his ankle came up negative. The team is trying to stay positive with the belief that Altidore will be back to full strength by next Saturday, but anyone who has had an ankle injury knows just how tricky they can be. A sprained ankle can be something that heals in a couple of days or sticks around to bother the athlete for far longer than that.
Team USA will get to see just how well Altidore is recovering if they put him on the field June 5th against Australia in their final tune-up game for the World Cup. It will give him a chance to get out on the field in a game situation, and see just how much break-away speed that he has in that leg right now. At just 20-years-old, he should be able to spring back from this, and hopefully for the sake of Team USA, he is able to do it very quickly.
The England vs. USA World Cup match is scheduled for June 12th, 2010 at 11:30 a.m. on ABC.