Stars Arjen Robben (pictured) of Holland and Mikel John Obi of Nigeria are both in danger of missing out on the World Cup after sustaining further injuries in warm-up games ahead of next week’s World Cup openers. Mikel has carried a knee injury for some time and there are reports that an ankle injury has contributed to the Nigerian midfielder’s exit from the World Cup. As for Robben, one of the most dynamic players on one of the most dynamic sides in the tournament, his hopes rest in the results of a scan on his hamstring. The injury came after Robben had scored twice in the 6-1 Dutch rout of Hungary today. Manager Bert van Marwijk has expressed serious questions about whether or not the star winger will be fit enough for the group stage.
Of course many news outlets are reporting these injuries and supporters of every nation are wondering why these warm-up games are played at all. Those questions are completely naive, given how few games national teams play together these days. There is always a risk of injury in any match, warm-up or World Cup final. It is unfortunate that so many star players are breaking down so close to the tournament. But there is no chance at all that nations will forgo friendlies ahead of a major tournament in the future.