Zee Media Bureau/Rajdeep Saha
New Delhi: With eight days left for kick-off in Brazil, these are desperate times for some of the world`s best players who face a daunting task of coming out of injuries.
Several top nations including defending champions Spain have selected top icons who aren`t yet full fit and a lot hangs at stake with their preparations. With the world`s biggest tournament in the picture any nation couldn`t afford to leave out their star-player who promises sniffing chances of a full recovery. For now Uruguay, Chile, Spain and Portugal all of these nations are in line to get their important asset get ready well in time to stake a claim in their fortunes in Rio.
Portugal`s hero Cristiano Ronaldo single handedly put his team in the plane to Brazil after sealing the play-off. Ronaldo has tendinitis and a leg injury and was seen practising alone in the warm-up sessions on Wednesday. Portugal knows how much Ronaldo`s availability means to dictate terms in a stiff Group.
Uruguay`s Luis Suarez who is in the running for the European Golden Boot award had undergone a knee injury and hasn`t recovered fully. Though the Uruguay camp is positive and to reports suggesting that Suarez will be ready in line to face Costa Rica in their opener, the wicket so far looks sticky for the Liverpool forward. Suarez has been in supreme form for both country and club and pitted in the Group of Death, the South American giants need his services to claim a chance against top shots Italy and England.
Spain coach Vincente del Bosque didn`t leave any stone unturned when he named unfit Diego Costa in his squad. The Atletico Madrid striker was forced to leave the ground in the Champions League final against Real Madrid and also La Liga decider against Barcelona owing to a hamstring injury. Costa stated on Wednesday that he was sure to be fit before Spain`s clash against Netherlands and he would hope to put things right. With the likes of Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo left out, Costa and del Bosque face a race against time to get the risk coming good for them.
Chile too faces a similar headache with star midfield maestro Arturo Vidal who underwent a knee operation and despite being in the recovery phase was named in the final 23-man squad. The Chilean is set to miss the friendly matches before the ultimate showdown.
If all these players get a chance to prove their fitness a lot will depend on how they perform on the field with rustiness and lack of game time the main worry. Also these countries will hope their hopes don`t get dashed just like Colombia when Radamel Falcao pulled himself out of the final squad for a trip to Rio.