Sports Thread #2/The FIFA World Cup Report For #1 For 6/9/10: Fears Of Frei Fragility Fright The Swiss
Photo From AFPHis Euro 2008 on home ground ended immediately after it started. And now his hopes to be in an even bigger major final are now hanging in the balance:
Switzerland skipper Alex Frei suffered a right ankle injury on Wednesday which left coach Ottmar Hitzfeld praying that the problem would not be ligament damage.
"I hope the ligaments are not damaged, that there is no fracture," Hitzfeld told Swiss news agency ATS. "I believe Alex will be on the flight with us tonight for South Africa even if it's a bad injury. I leave in the belief that he will take part in the World Cup. He perhaps will not be ready for the first match but I will be able to call upon him after that."
Now the Swiss are deeper at the forward spot than they were two years ago, with the re-emergence of Blaise Nkufo (also hurt and all out Euro 08) and the emergence of young Bayer Leverkausen giant Eren Derdiyok capable of scoring against any defense (particularly in that group with Honduras, Chile, and a Spain side that can have concentration lapses at times). And that is not even mentioning the quality scoring threats in the midfield in Tranquilo Barnetta and Gokhan Inler.
But Frei is in the team's #9 for a reason after all these years. And for how he didn't even play a half on home soil two years ago, missing out on another major final would not only be devastating for him, but also Swiss team moral.
And that isn't even talking about the status of their active work horse in the midfield:
Valon Behrami, who was injured playing against Italy, took part in training, but he was unable to run. "If he can't train at 100 per cent by Sunday, he will not play in the first match," said the coach.Ottmar Hitzfeld clearly has a lot of things on his mind.