WORLD CUP IN BRIEF

AFP | Published: 00:05, Jun 02,2018 | Updated: 23:38, Jun 01,2018

 
 

German coach Joachim Low speaks during a press conference at the Rungghof training centre in Girlan, northern Italy on Friday. — AFP photo

Xhaka relief after training ground injury
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka expressed relief after getting good news about a training ground injury that threatened to scupper his World Cup chances for Switzerland on Thursday. Xhaka hobbled off the pitch fearing he had damaged ligaments in his knee. But the 25-year-old, who suffered a bone contusion injury that will sideline him for Sunday’s friendly against Spain in Villarreal, is expected to return to action quickly. ‘I’m very relieved,’ Xhaka said via a statement issued by the Swiss football federation. Xhaka underwent a MRI scan which ruled out a more serious injury. Swiss team doctor Pierre-Etienne Fournier said: ‘We’re very relieved. He has only suffered a painful bone contusion injury. ‘The ligaments are intact, but we wanted to be sure that the meniscus wasn’t damaged either.’ 

Low rules him out as Zidane’s successor
Germany’s World Cup-winning coach Joachim Low on Friday ruled himself out of the running to take over at Real Madrid after reports he has been approached to replace Zinedine Zidane. ‘Of course I can completely rule that out now,’ Low told reporters at Germany’s World Cup training camp at Eppan, north Italy, after Spanish daily Marca claimed Real had already approached the 58-year-old German. ‘Real Madrid will surely find a very, very good substitute for Zinedine Zidane. ‘His resignation surprised me a little, but he is the best judge of whether the team has reached it’s peak (under him). ‘If he feels now is the right time, then you have to respect that.’ — AFP

Russian cosmonauts get their kicks with ball
If one of the World Cup footballs seems to behave as if there is no gravity it may just be the official ball Russian cosmonauts put through the paces on the International Space Station. In footage released by the Russian space agency Roscosmos on Thursday, cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Anton Shkaplerov donned official FIFA World Cup T-shirts to kick a ball around the ISS. Without the constraining factor of gravity, the two were able to make spinning kicks and lunging saves. Roscosmos said the football was an official game ball and would return to earth with the cosmonauts on Sunday. — AFP

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