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Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 15:47 UK

Wednesday's World Cup round-up

Ayegbeni Yakubu

Yakubu misses open goal

Nigeria captain Kanu has criticised fellow striker Yakubu for missing an open goal during their 2-2 draw with South Korea, a result which put the Asian side through to the last 16 at the expense of the Super Eagles.

"As a striker that's the easiest one to score, so if you miss it then I don't know what you will do," Kanu said. "If we didn't create the chances we'd complain, but in fact we made them."

Former England international striker Alan Shearer said on the BBC: "I reckon that's the worse miss I've ever seen."

South African president Jacob Zuma has paid tribute to the host nation's footballers, even though they failed to progress past the group stage despite a 2-1 victory against France on Tuesday.

"You have made your country proud," Zuma said. "The existing carnival atmosphere in the country is because you have represented all of us with pride.

"Winning against France is an achievement you should be proud of. In tournaments like this sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. You gave it your best and now it is time to enjoy the World Cup."

Now seemingly fully recovered from a nagging left hamstring injury sustained in a warm-up match, gifted Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben may make his first appearance of the tournament when the Netherlands play Cameroon on Thursday.

"It is possible that I get my first minutes against Cameroon," Robben revealed. "Everything is possible. We are taking it day by day."

The man who led the British cycling team's charge to eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games believes the England football team have been "emotionally hijacked" in South Africa.

British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford said: "The worst-case scenario is halfway through a match you start thinking 'Jeez, what happens if we lose? What happens if we draw? We're going to get slated for this'.

"It doesn't matter if you're Pele, Mark Cavendish or Bradley Wiggins or whoever, once you get emotionally hijacked, you're finished. I think you have to forget about the result."

France forward Thierry Henry
France narrowly beat Ireland in a World Cup qualification play-off

Irish newspapers are revelling in France's World Cup exit, describing it as poetic justice for Thierry Henry's handball which kept their national football team from going to South Africa.

"France came into South Africa as the popular villains of the cast and exit to gleeful farewells," said The Irish Times.

"Au revoir!" said the Irish Independent, "Forgive us for gloating but it's allez les bleus, all the way home."

David Ginola has threatened to sue Gerard Houllier after the former France manager once again blamed him for Les Bleus' failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

Former Tottenham winger Ginola became the scapegoat after a cross in the last qualifying match against Bulgaria was too long and their opponents broke to score a shock winner.

"In 2010, 17 years after, when I see the same person go on television and talk about this event where they treated me like a criminal for too long a cross, I'm sorry, I find this over the top," said Ginola. "It's enough. I'm so sick of it...I have decided to press charges."

Barcelona's Andres Iniesta is set to return for Spain's crucial World Cup match against Group H leaders Chile on Friday.

"I'm 100 percent," said the playmaker. "I trained well, I felt well and I could do everything normally."

Iniesta missed Spain's 2-0 win over Honduras after getting hurt in the 1-0 loss to Switzerland. The European champions must beat Chile to guarantee their place in the last 16.

Sulley Muntari is still out of favour with Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac despite remaining with the squad in South Africa after being expelled, and then re-instated.

The Inter Milan star launched into a foul-mouthed rant at Rajevac after he was only given a brief substitute appearance against Australia on Saturday, after which Rajevac asked for Muntari to be sent home - which he has not.

But no matter how hard the President of the Ghana Football Association Kwasi Nyantekyie and team captain Stephen Appiah have tried to reason with Rajevac, the Serb is indicating he still cannot work with the player.

Chile's players are using a mud-stained flag, rescued from the aftermath of February's earthquake in the south of their country, to inspire them at the World Cup.

Marcelo Bielsa's side have hung the red, white and blue flag on a flagpole next to their training pitch near Nelspruit.

"I always pass by it after each practice session and it symbolises a little bit the suffering that our country went through during that time - the earthquake, the tsunamis, the many deaths," said centre-back Waldo Ponce.

Updated throughout the day.



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see also
Tuesday's World Cup round-up
22 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Monday's World Cup round-up
21 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Sunday's World Cup round-up
20 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Saturday's World Cup round-up
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Friday's World Cup round-up
18 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
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


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