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Page last updated at 22:58 GMT, Friday, 4 June 2010 23:58 UK

Friday's South Africa World Cup 2010 round-up

Andrea Pirlo
Pirlo played for Italy in the 2006 World Cup final against France

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo faces a race against time to be fit for the finals after suffering a calf injury in Thursday's 2-1 friendly defeat to Mexico.

The 31-year-old will miss the World Cup holders' opener against Paraguay on 14 June and there are fears he could be ruled out of the whole tournament.

The AC Milan playmaker has left the Azzurri's training camp in the Italian Alps to recover at home but is scheduled to fly to South Africa with the team on 8 June.

"It's an injury which worries me but there's time," said team doctor Enrico Castellacci. "The intention is to take him to South Africa to see if he can be fit."

Brazil have two injury worries in the shape of goalkeeper Julio Cesar and left-back Michel Bastos.

Cesar, 30, missed training for the second consecutive day on Friday and had intensive physiotherapy on the back injury he suffered in Wednesday's 3-0 win against Zimbabwe.

The 26-year-old Bastos damaged his ankle in training while battling for the ball against Elano.

However, both players are expected to be fit for Brazil's opening fixture against North Korea on 15 June.

France suffered a shock 1-0 defeat against China in their final warm-up match on Friday.

China, who are ranked 84th in the world, scored the only goal in the friendly on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean in the 68th minute.

"I think we are improving," said manager Raymond Domenech. "Having lost will force us to be more careful, more inspired and to work harder."

France play Uruguay in their opening match on 11 June and are hoping to avoid a repeat of their group-stage exit during Euro 2008.

England's Group C opponents Slovenia had a comfortable win against New Zealand in their final friendly before the tournament.

Milivoje Novakovic scored twice in the 3-1 home victory against Slovenia's fellow World Cup qualifiers.

Plymouth striker Rory Fallon hit New Zealand's goal while Andraz Kim completed the scoring.

Ivory Coast beat fellow qualifiers Japan 2-0, with Marcus Tanaka hitting an own goal in the first half and Manchester City's Kolo Toure scoring with 11 minutes left.

Frank Lampard has come out in favour of the much-criticised new and lighter football to be used at the World Cup.

The England midfielder has been shooting from long range in training with the Jabulani ball and reckons, with the movement he is creating in the air, that he will cause problems for goalkeepers.

"The ball does move. I worked on it in Austria," said Lampard. "It can move and fly over the bar. But, if you catch it right, even from a very long way out, you have a chance [of scoring].

"Even if you don't score, you put the keeper under pressure because it's hard for him to keep hold of the ball."

Criticism of the ball has mainly come from the goalkeeping fraternity with Lampard's England team-mate David James joining stoppers from Australia, Italy, Brazil and Spain in voicing concerns about the ball.

Slovakia captain Marek Hamsik is enjoying the hysteria in his home country as they prepare to play in their first World Cup finals tournament.

The Slovaks face Costa Rica in Bratislava on Saturday before they fly out to South Africa.

The Napoli midfielder said: "We are pleased that the people of Slovakia are so interested in our progress at the World Cup. I am pleased to deal with signatures and pose for pictures and movies. It's for their memories. This is just what our sport needs."

Honduras striker David Suazo insists his, and his team's, lack of goals in 2010 are not a cause for concern.

The 30-year-old Inter Milan forward has not scored in his last five games for Los Catrachos, while his team have failed to find the net in three of their four games this year with defeats by Turkey and Venezuela followed by draws against Belarus and Azerbaijan.

"The goals will come when they come," he said. "People should be calm and realise that things are improving."



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see also
Thursday's World Cup 2010 round-up
03 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Wednesday's World Cup 2010 round-up
02 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Tuesday's World Cup 2010 round-up
01 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Monday's World Cup 2010 round-up
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Sunday's World Cup 2010 round-up
30 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Saturday's World Cup round-up
29 May 10 |  World Cup 2010


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