World Cup Watch: No Van der Vaart, Suarez “okay”
Rafael van der Vaart is out of the World Cup. The Netherlands midfielder has suffered a shock calf injury in training, news that could significantly rock their tournament chances. Their odds, however, remain at 33/1.
At 31-years-old, he was the oldest member of coach Louis van Gaal’s squad,with the most caps (109), and has been an important fixture for the Netherlands in the their last two World Cup campaigns, helping them reach the final in 2010.
The former Ajax, Real Madrid and Tottenham player has endured a difficult season with German club Hamburg, and was involved in a relegation play-off decider against Greuther Fuerth.
Van Gaal must decide who to replace him with, though PSV Eindhoven captain Georginio Wijnaldum could be in line to feature more prominently than originally planned. Van Der Vaart’s versatility will undoubtedly be missed. His ability to operate across the midfield or behind the striker has been key to every team he has played for, and at international level has flourished, forming a key relationship with Robin van Persie.
The Manchester United striker himself could well be nursed through the tournament, as he is also recovering from a knee injury. Van Gaal knows he will be linking up with the forward when they meet for pre-season training at Old Trafford, so could do well to fight feelings of conflict.
It could well be better news for Uruguay fans, however, as according to England right back Glen Johnson, his Liverpool teammate will be fit for the tournament.
The player who is preparing for England’s friendly with Peru, took time out of training saying:
“He doesn’t think it’s that bad so he thinks he’ll be okay,
“My only focus is on a personal level that I don’t want to see him injured.
“He’s a good lad and I get on well with him so of course I don’t want him to be injured.
“But we just have to focus on ourselves and let everybody else focus on the other teams.”
Uruguay, who are in England’s group are 11/4 to reach the last 16, with Luis Suarez 22/1 to be tournament top scorer.