Kewell in doubt; Kalac out

Australia’s Harry Kewell is continuing to battle a groin injury which is threatening to keep him out of Monday’s round of 16 match against Italy in Kaiserslautern.

    One in doubt, one out

    The Liverpool midfielder missed training on Sunday and is being assessed by the team’s medical staff.

    "We'll see how Harry recovers, he will not participate with the team at training this morning and we will see how his situation is tomorrow," coach Guus Hiddink a press conference on Sunday.

    "It's the same procedure we did (with him) before the Croatian game."

    Assistant coach Graham Arnold paid tribute to how hard the former Leeds player worked on his fitness.

    "Harry has struggled in the last few weeks with fitness but it's a testament to the guy," he said.

    "He wakes up at seven in the morning, he goes to the gym, he works hard, he trains hard, he eats well, he does everything to be fit.
      
    "If you talk to him he'll probably say he shouldn't be here with the injury he's had and it's testament to the guy he's given everything he can give physically to get here."

    Flexible system

    The Australian coaching staff must also find a replacement for right sided player Brett Emerton who is suspended for the match against the Azzurri.

    "We don't have that many options to replace him, that's why I like to play a flexible system and also have players who have the ability to play in several positions," Hiddink said.

    "We'll find our solution, but it's not easy because Brett Emerton has given a lot of energy to this team, he's a very athletic player and when you see him running all over the place, he's one of  the fittest players in this World Cup."

    One selection decision already made though is the return of Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer for AC Milan's Zeljko Kalac.

    Italy based Kalac, a surprise selection against Croatia, had an error riddled match against Zlatko Kranjcar's men including a defensive howler which gifted the Europeans a goal.

    The 33 year old Schwarzer is seen as a penalty shoot out specialist and was the hero of Australia's World Cup qualification when he saved two penalties against Uruguay.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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