World Cup notebook: Another rumour has Wayne Rooney upset, Messi’s joy for Higuain and more

England's forward Wayne Rooney trained with the substitutes in Rio de Janeiro. Ben Stansall / AFP
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England’s Wayne Rooney criticised British media yesterday for suggesting that training with the squad’s substitutes indicated his place in the team was under threat. “Sometimes I wonder what the press are getting at,” the Manchester United striker wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “I said from the start I want to do everything I can to make sure I’m ready for these World Cup games and as part of that I was doing extra training a week before the squad joined up. That’s exactly what I did yesterday, my own extra training, because that’s what I wanted to do.” Rooney’s status as an automatic pick has come under scrutiny after his subdued display on the left side of England’s attack in their opening World Cup loss to Italy on Saturday.


Portugal left-back Fabio Coentrao is out of the World Cup after suffering a thigh injury, dealing another blow to the morale of the team, the Portuguese Federation (FPF) yesterday. Coentrao was forced off after 65 minutes of his country’s opening Group G 4-0 thrashing by Germany on Monday. Coentrao suffered a “second-grade tear of the adductor longus muscle in the right thigh,” the FPF said. The 26-year-old Real Madrid left-back was among three players to undergo MRI scans yesterday. Forward Hugo Almeida, who lasted only 28 minutes in Salvador, suffered a first-grade tear in his left hamstring, while goalkeeper Rui Patricio also suffered a grade-one tear in his thigh. Both are expected to return to full fitness before the end of the tournament.


Lionel Messi would be thrilled if Argentine World Cup teammate Gonzalo Higuain joined him at Barcelona. “I have spoken to Pipa [Higuain]. Obviously, it would delight me if this happened,” said Messi of the Napoli striker, who has been strongly linked with a move to Camp Nou to provide desperately needed muscle up front. He is one of the world’s best strikers and it would be great for us.” Higuain played down suggestions that a move was imminent following reports in Spain that a deal had been finalised. “I’m not looking after it. My mind is on the World Cup,” Higuain said.


Colombian striker Carlos Bacca suffered a muscle strain and will be out of action for at least a week, the country’s football federation said. The Sevilla forward was on the bench for Colombia’s first match of the tournament, a 3-0 win over Greece on Saturday. Their next match is against the Ivory Coast tomorrow, and they round off their Group C schedule against Japan on June 24. Colombia has already suffered with the pre-tournament withdrawal of top striker Radamel Falcao.


Germany defenders Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng were flown to the hospital from their World Cup base yesterday for scans after suffering injuries in their opening win over Portugal. Centre-back Hummels had to be helped off after 73 minutes of Germany’s emphatic 4-0 win over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in Salvador on Monday. A scan revealed heavy bruising in his right thigh. Right-back Boateng finished the match, but tore a thumb muscle in his right hand and will need to wear a cast. The pair were flown to a clinic in Eunapolis, 60 kilometres from the Germans’ World Cup base, for MRI scans. The luxury mode of transport is deemed necessary by the German Football Association, given the rugged roads in rural Brazil, which make any road journey a lengthy process.

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