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Page last updated at 19:15 GMT, Wednesday, 9 June 2010 20:15 UK

World Cup 2010: Skrtel hopeful for opening game

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Watch highlights of Slovakia's World Cup qualifying campaign

Slovakia defender Martin Skrtel hopes he will be fit for his country's opening World Cup match against New Zealand on 15 June.

The 25-year-old trained on his own on Wednesday after injuring his ankle in a friendly with Costa Rica on Saturday.

"It's still swollen but it's getting better each day," said the Liverpool central defender.

"In the morning I'll be training with a personal coach and after that I hope to train with the team."

Skrtel, who is competing at his first World Cup, is a key member of the Slovakia side but has struggled with injuries all year after breaking a metatarsal in his right foot during Liverpool's 3-1 Europa League win over Unirea Urziceni on 25 February.

606: DEBATE

He was one of four players whose fitness national coach Vladimir Weiss gambled on when he named his final 23-man squad for South Africa.

Captain Marek Hamsik, who has been struggling with a muscle problem, was fit enough to play in a friendly with Cameroon prior to the squad being named, but Filip Holosko and Robert Vittek, who are in the squad, sat out the friendly.

Holosko broke his leg last year while Vittek has been struggling with a knee injury.

Slovakia have been drawn in Group F for the finals in South Africa and will take on New Zealand, Paraguay and defending champion Italy in South Africa.



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see also
Skrtel returns to full training
05 May 10 |  Liverpool
Skrtel sidelined for eight weeks
01 Mar 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool confirm Skrtel signing
11 Jan 08 |  Liverpool
Guide to the teams at South Africa 2010
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  World Cup 2010


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