Elephants play down Drogba injury

04 June 2010 01:40
The Ivory Coast insist Didier Drogba is "definitely not out" of the World Cup and could even return from an arm injury during the group stage.

Drogba was forced out of the Ivorians' World Cup warm-up game against Japan in the 17th minute in Sion today and reports suggested the Chelsea striker could have fractured his right elbow - sparking fears he would miss the finals.

However, the federation insist he has not yet been ruled out.

"He's not at all out of the World Cup," said a spokesman. "He can still play."

The Ivory Coast are awaiting further medical tests but there is a chance Drogba could even feature when they kick off their World Cup campaign against Portugal on June 15.

The spokesman continued: "We don't know if he will be able to play the first game - that depends on the verdict of the medical team.

"But he's definitely not out."

However, the federation were more cautious on their official website with the brief line: "Didier Drogba is not, for the moment, out of the World Cup."

Drogba has scored 44 goals in 69 appearances for his country and hit 37 for Chelsea in all competitions as Carlo Ancelotti's men landed the Premier League and FA Cup double last season.

Ivory Coast coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said earlier: "It's an elbow injury for sure. How bad it is, I don't know. He had a lot of pain."

Drogba went down clutching his arm following a challenge from Japan central defender Tulio shortly after giving the Elephants the lead.

"Of course I am worried, he's our captain and one of the best players in the world," added former England boss Eriksson, who attached no blame to Tulio.

"It was unlucky, he didn't want to hurt anyone. Football is a game of contact."

Ivory Coast ended up winning the game against Japan 2-0 with Manchester City defender Kolo Toure adding a late second.

They face Brazil, Portugal and North Korea in Group G of the World Cup.

Source: Team_Talk