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Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Friday, 18 June 2010 17:49 UK

Friday's World Cup 2010 round-up

Brazil v North Korea
North Korea are making their first appearance at a World Cup since 1966

Fifa has insisted it has no information on reports that four North Korea players have gone missing.

There have been suggestions that the players may have tried to defect after the official teamsheet for North Korea's 2-1 defeat by Brazil on Tuesday listed the players Kim Myong-won, An Chol-hyok, Kim Kyong-il and Pak Sung-hyok as absent.

Fifa communications director Nicolas Maingot told a media briefing: "We have no information on this - we have only been contacted on this issue by the media. Our media officer with the Korea DPR who has spoken to their delegation completely deny these rumours."

Netherlands and Japan had their traditional eve of match training sessions moved from the Moses Mabhida World Cup stadium on Friday because of concerns about the playing surface.

"We had a heavy rainstorm last night [Thursday] and we're just taking care of the pitch," said Durban venue manager Bongi Hlope ahead of the Group E clash on Saturday.

Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi has described the possibility of defeat to New Zealand in their Group F game on Sunday as unthinkable.

"It would be as serious as if New Zealand failed to get out the group stages at the Rugby World Cup," said De Rossi, whose country just about beat the Kiwis 4-3 in a pre-Confederations Cup friendly last year.

Former France captain and World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane has criticised coach Raymond Domenech for leaving Yoann Gourcuff on the bench after the 2-0 defeat by Mexico which left Les Bleus on the brink of World Cup elimination.

Mexico's Javier Hernandez

Highlights - France 0-2 Mexico

"The coach made the decision but I don't agree with it," Zidane told Mexican television station Televisa. "I am disappointed because France did not have a single shot on goal and that should be the least to be expected. Mexico were superior to France, especially physically."

Injured England captain Rio Ferdinand has told his team-mates: "You can still win the World Cup."

"We still have a great chance of winning the World Cup," Ferdinand told The Sun. "No team can claim to be the outright favourites. There is no one who scares us. I'm sure we'll beat Algeria. I've played with these players for years and know how good they are."

Former Tottenham manager Osvaldo Ardiles, a World Cup winner with Argentina in 1978, says he wants to be Australia's new national coach.

"Yes, I'm very interested," said Ardiles. "I've always wanted to manage a national team, so it will be great if it happens. I'm sure there's not going to be a shortage of candidates."

Senior Cameroon players have asked coach Paul Le Guen to reconsider his team selection for the Group E match against Denmark on Saturday.

Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o and Rigobert Song
Defender Song made a substitute appearance against Japan

Cameroon's players are unhappy because Le Guen omitted seasoned campaigners like defenders Rigobert Song and Geremi and midfielder Alexandre Song from the Japan game, which they lost 1-0.

"What we have seen in recent games, which we think is unfortunate, is that many young fresh players have been introduced into the team at the expense of experienced ones," said midfielder Achille Emana.

United States captain Carlos Bocanegra said his team will not be underestimating Slovenia just because they lack household names.

The former Fulham defender said: "We have some personal experience against these guys. A few play in Germany, a few in France, just because they're not in the Premier League we're still familiar with these guys. We are not going to take them lightly just because some people might not know the names as well."

Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong is confident his team can win the World Cup in South Africa.

Ahead of Saturday's Group E clash with Japan, De Jong said: "We just have to deliver this World Cup. We have got enough quality to do it."

Honduras defender Maynor Figueroa is convinced his team can inflict more World Cup misery on Spain when the two sides meet on Monday.

Honduras defender Maynor Figueroa
Honduras suffered a 1-0 loss to Chile in their opening World Cup match

Switzerland caused the first shock of the tournament when they defeated the European Champions on Wednesday. Wigan's Figueroa said: "This is the beginning, against big rivals, Honduras always grow. The morale of the team is good, I think it is nothing more than the beginning, knowing that against Spain it will be a completely different game."

Kaka is still crucial to Brazil's hopes of a sixth World Cup crown, according to team-mate Robinho. The Real Madrid forward's season has been disrupted by groin and thigh problems and he was replaced by Nilmar in the 78th minute of their 2-1 victory against North Korea on Tuesday.

But Robinho told globoesporte.com: "When Kaka plays well he can decide any game. He is very important to us. I realise that we can all improve in the coming games. It was only the first one and what happened was fairly normal."

Macbeth Sibaya has denied reports of a rift in the South Africa camp, insisting the team is focused on their final Group A match against France.

David Cameron and Nicolas Sarzoky
Cameron and Sarkozy: Don't mention the score

Bafana Bafana's hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the World Cup suffered a massive blow on Wednesday when they were beaten 3-0 by Uruguay. "I suppose now that we lost, the journalists need negative stories," said midfielder Sibaya. "There is no tension or problems amongst anyone."

France president Nicolas Sarkozy and British prime minister David Cameron took time out from discussing the war in Afghanistan and the upcoming G20 summit to talk about their respective football teams at the World Cup at a Number 10 lunch on Friday.

"The prime minister and the president had an opportunity to swap notes on the progress of their respective teams in the World Cup," said a Downing Street spokesman.

The city of Geneva has introduced red rubbish bags with the white cross of the national flag emblazoned with the words "Hope Suisse" (Come on Switzerland) in support of the national team, who stunned European champions Spain on Wednesday.

"It was a proposal from the public works service, where most of the 300 employees are football fans," said city counsellor Pierre Maudet.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou hailed the performance of the national team against Nigeria on Thursday, delaying the start of his press conference following an EU summit in Brussels to watch the end of the match.

"The boys on the national team made us proud," said Papandreou, who in April was forced to ask other EU governments and the International Monetary Fund for an unprecedented loan package to avoid a debt default. "In such a period when Greece has gone through a lot of bad news, it was an important glimmer of light."

Updated throughout the day



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see also
Thursday's World Cup round-up
17 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Wednesday's World Cup round-up
16 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Tuesday's World Cup 2010 round-up
15 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Monday's World Cup 2010 round-up
14 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Sunday's World Cup 2010 round-up
13 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010


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