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Muntari fitness doubts cast shadow over Ghanaian hopes

| 07.06.2010

Ghana, who have already lost their lynchpin Michael Essien to injury, are praying that Champions League winner Sulley Muntari does not become their second key midfielder to miss the World Cup.

The Inter Milan player aggravated a thigh injury during Ghana’s 4-1 friendly defeat to Holland last week and missed their 1-0 win against Latvia on Saturday.

Should Muntari be fit enough to start for Ghana in their World Cup opener against Serbia on June 13th, the Black Stars will fancy their chances of progressing from Group D.

If they do so in second place, they are likely to face England in the round of 16, and Ghana are 9/4 to be eliminated at this stage.

Holland winger Arjen Robben, meanwhile, has confirmed that he has a small tear in his left hamstring but is hoping intense physiotherapy will help him take part in the World Cup.

The Bayern Munich star came on as a half-time substitute in Saturday’s 6-1 thrashing of Hungary and scored two goals before being forced off five minutes from time.

The initial diagnosis was gloomy but Robben is hoping he can still play a key role in South Africa, where he is 4/1 to be Holland’s top scorer.

And Robben’s former Chelsea colleague, Didier Drogba, will link up with his Ivory Coast team-mates after undergoing successful surgery on his broken arm, which he sustained in Friday’s 2-0 friendly win against Japan.

Drogba is integral to Ivory Coast’s hopes of success in South Africa – they are 5/1 to win Group G – but his involvement remains in grave doubt despite the successful operation.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.