[BRAZIL 2014]Portugal coach Paulo Bento could not be more clear: Cristiano Ronaldo won't start Friday night against Mexico at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. He doesn't know when his injured star will start. But he'll be sure to let us all know when he does.
Ronaldo is suffering from tendinitis in his knee and a thigh injury and was training on his own at the New York Jets training facility in New Jersey before the Portuguese headed to their hotel in Providence, R.I.
"I don't know when we will be able to use him," Beto said on Thursday. "That's what I said last Friday. When there is something different to what I said before, we will say so."
Also injured and not with Portugal for the Mexico game are Ronaldo's Real Madrid teammates, midfielder Raul Meireles (left thigh) and central defender Pepe (right leg).
"When they are ready to compete, we'll announce it straight away," he said. "Until then, rather than just feeling sorry about their absence or wondering about when they will be 100 percent, we have to find solutions that allow us to compete as best as possible. Ronaldo is not the only one who is injured. We have other players with physical problems and my expectations and opinion have not changed in relation to last week."
PRE-WORLD CUP, Friday:
June 6 in Foxboro, Mass.
Portugal vs. Mexico
June 6 in Harrison, N.J.
Greece vs. Bolivia
June 6 in Salvador
Croatia vs. Australia
June 6 in Sao Paulo
Brazil vs. Serbia
June 6 in Moscow
Russia vs. Morocco
June 6 in Tampa, Fla.
Japan vs. Zambia
June 6 in Mainz
Germany vs. Armenia
June 6 in Buenos Aires
Colombia vs. Jordan
(Soccer on TV: Weekend Schedule)
Injury Report ...
OX IN LIMBO.Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain strained the medial ligaments in his right knee in England’s 2-2 tie with Ecuador on Wednesday, putting his status for the World Cup in doubt.
No decision had yet been made whether he'll fly with England to Brazil after its match Saturday against Honduras in Miami. According to English reports, he'll be sidelined from 10 days to three weeks.
England coach Roy Hodgson has until June 13, the day before the opener against Italy in Manaus to replace Ox, who was one of the best English players in the game against Ecuador.
Training Camp Updates ...
FRISCO SHOUT-OUT.Wednesday's Ivory Coast-El Salvador game at Toyota Stadium, home of FC Dallas, drew 18,578 fans, almost as many as England-Ecuador drew earlier in the day in Miami (21,534), capping what Ivory Coast's Elephants terms an excellent stay in Frisco.
“It was great,” defender Kolo Toure told MLSSoccer.com. “Honestly it was like a proper World Cup game because the fans were there and super-enthusiastic, rooting and enjoying the game.”
Toure praised the FC Dallas facilities, while teammate Didier Drogba also gave a shout-out to Dallas: “It’s amazing. People are very, very nice to us. We are lucky.”
On the ground ...
READY. OR NOT. Brazil's sports minister, Aldo Rebelo, hardly expressed confidence about how the troubled World Cup would go off, telling media he couldn't promise Brazil would be ready next week. What made the remarks significant is that Rebelo has spent the recent years pushing back at criticism of Brazil's preparations for the tournament.
"You have to be prepared every day," Rebelo said after a meeting of FIFA's World Cup organizing committee. "Everything needs to be working 24 hours. I am not going to hang a diploma on my wall and say 'Here is my diploma, everything is ready.' We have done everything within our capacity so that things are as close as possible to ready."
Jerome Valcke, the FIFA secretary general whose harsh criticism of Brazil made him persona non grata in the country for a while, sounded more upbeat.
"We are not afraid of the next days," he said.