Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo is showing no signs of any trouble with his left knee and is jumping and shooting as usual, teammate Miguel Veloso said Thursday.
“I’m not a doctor but from what I see, Cristiano Ronaldo is fine,” he told reporters after a training session in Campinas. “He is training, he is jumping and he is shooting. There is not much else to say.”
Ronaldo, who was suffering from tendinosis in his left knee before the World Cup, ended a training session early Wednesday and was photographed walking off the field with an ice pack on his left knee.
Portugal, thrashed 4-0 by Germany in their opening Group G match Monday, must beat the United States in Manaus on Sunday to have any realistic chance of staying in the competition.
“We know it will be difficult in Manaus because of the high temperature but we can’t use that as an excuse,” said Veloso.
“We have to accept the criticism although we can’t agree with everything which has been said. We have to think ahead, we have to finals to play and depend on ourselves.”
Mexico are under investigation by FIFA after their fans allegedly directed homophobic chants at Cameroon goalkeeper Charles Itandje during their World Cup match Friday.
Mexico fans have long shouted an insult at keepers taking goal kicks, which some gay rights groups argue is homophobic.
FARE, an anti-discrimination campaign group, said it had contacted FIFA about four incidents of racist or homophobic behaviour at the World Cup, including the chants at the game between Mexico and Cameroon.
A FIFA spokeswoman said no other disciplinary proceedings had been launched at this point.
Piara Powar, executive director of FARE, said the group had told FIFA about banners showing far-right symbols or messages held by fans of Croatia and Russia at World Cup games in Brazil.
Powar said the fourth incident related to the same chants by Mexico fans at the country’s other match against hosts Brazil, and which some home team fans copied.
“This is something that we really felt we needed to draw to the attention of FIFA,” he said.
ALTIDORE RULED OUT
Hampered by a depleted strike force, the United States are likely to choose between a young Icelandic import or a veteran super-sub to lead the line in place of the injured Jozy Altidore for their World Cup match against Portugal.
U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann lacks someone in the squad able to muscle past defenders and create space and opportunities for others like the burly Altidore, whose hamstring injury has probably ruled him out of the rest of the tournament.
After dispatching Ghana 2-1 in a dramatic Group G opener, the United States know victory against the Portuguese on Sunday should put them through to the last 16 for the fourth time in the last seven tournaments.
Klinsmann is now likely to choose between Aron Johannsson, who made little impact when he came on against Ghana, and Chris Wondolowski, a 31-year-old Major League Soccer veteran.
HUMMELS STILL DOUBTFUL
Germany defender Mats Hummels has resumed light training despite a severely bruised thigh but remains doubtful for Saturday's Group G match against Ghana, a team spokesman said.
"He is able to do training sessions on an exercise bike but there is still no reliable forecast about whether Mats will be able to play on Saturday," Jens Grittner told a news conference on Thursday.
Hummels anchored Germany's defence against Portugal and also scored in the crushing 4-0 win. He suffered the severe bruise in his right thigh in the 73rd minute after a mid-air collision with Eder and had to be helped off the pitch.
Hummels posted a message on his Facebook page saying the injury "doesn't appear to be anything dramatic" and added that there was a chance he could be ready for Ghana.
QUEIROZ TO QUIT IRAN
Carlos Queiroz will step down as Iran coach after the World Cup because of a lack of financial support from the government, he said on Thursday.
The Mozambique-born coach said discussions had ended with the Iranian Football Association and that he would not lead the continent's best-ranked team at the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.
"Yes my connection will finish here at the World Cup," the former Real Madrid manager told Portuguese newspaper Publico in an interview.
"There was not support from the government...there has stopped being a genuine interest because of the financial situation.
"The dialogue has been cut off and I have already decided not to stay."
Queiroz has long bemoaned the financial restrictions he has had to work under with the West Asians, mainly down to the political restrictions placed on the country.
KOMPANY NURSING GROIN
A groin injury kept Belgium captain Vincent Kompany from training on Thursday as a precaution ahead of their World Cup match against Russia in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, coach Marc Wilmots tweeted.
"No Vincent Kompany at training today, slight strain on the groin. He worked individually with medical staff," tweeted the coach without giving an indication whether the centre back will play in the next Group H game.
On Wednesday, Eden Hazard was sent for a scan on a bruised toe and sat out training but returned to work on Thursday as the Belgians continued their preparations at their base at Mogi das Cruzes, near Sao Paulo.
Belgium, seen by many pundits as a credible outsider at the World Cup, scored a late winner on Tuesday to win 2-1 in their opening group game against Algeria in Belo Horizonte.
MEXICO FAN FALLS FROM SHIP
The Brazilian navy is searching for a Mexican fan who fell from a cruise ship sailing off the northeastern city where Mexico played Brazil in the World Cup, local officials said on Thursday.
The fan fell on Wednesday evening from the MSC Divina, owned and operated by the local unit of MSC Cruises, about 50 Km (30 miles) off the coast of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, the company said.
The cruise with 3,500 Mexican fans onboard was leaving the coastal city of Fortaleza where a day earlier Mexico held Brazil to a 0-0 draw to leave both sides poised to reach the last 16.
Chartered by a Mexican travel agency, the ship was on its way to Recife where Mexico play Croatia in their final Group A game, MSC Cruises said in a statement.
"Immediately after we were notified by the cruise, we sent a rescue ship to the area, but so far we have not found the passenger," a spokeswoman for the regional navy command told Reuters. "He fell in high seas, deep waters."
LIGHTS OFF, TVS ON
In a bid to keep television sets on for the full 90 minutes, World Cup viewers in Democratic Republic of Congo are being told ahead of each match in Brazil to turn off their lights and refrain from turning on electric cookers.
Even though Congo's national side did not qualify for the tournament, football fans across the nation of 65 million crowd around TV sets for each match, putting the country's creaking power grid under intense strain.
"We know the technical constraints of our energy system mean that our supply cannot meet demand," said Eric Mbala Musanda, managing director of state power firm SNEL.
"In circumstances like this we know ... we needed to ask these clients to limit that demand," he told Reuters.
While television networks elsewhere in the world provide pre-match analysis on the up-coming clash, cameras in Congo's state broadcaster RTNC pan to SNEL officials in the studios so they can spell out steps to reduce the demand, and therefore the risk of power cuts.