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England, Italy, Germany keep WC players waiting

England coach Fabio Capello knows his final WC squad but won't divulge it until Tuesday's deadline. Italy's Marcelli Lippi needs to cut five players, while Germany's Joachim Loew has to decide whether or not to take six strikers.

sports Updated: May 31, 2010 11:32 IST


England coach Fabio Capello knows his final World Cup squad but won't divulge it until Tuesday's deadline. Italy's Marcelli Lippi still needs to cut five players, while Germany's Joachim Loew has to decide whether or not to take six strikers to South Africa.

Although some of the 32 World Cup teams have already named the 23 players who they consider their best bet, others are holding out until the last minute.

Capello revealed after his team's lucky 2-1 victory over fellow qualifier Japan on Sunday that he now knew the 23 he wanted to carry England's hopes, but he just wasn't going to say who they were. "You have to wait until June 1," he said after the game in the Austrian city of Graz. "I know. You have to wait." That means checking on the fitness of midfielder Gareth Barry, who hasn't kicked a ball since he was injured playing for Manchester City on May 5. But he has also left the likes of Scott Parker, Stephen Warnock, Tom Huddlestone, Darren Bent, Michael Carrick, Michael Dawson, Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips wondering whether they will be going back to England instead of heading for South Africa.

Defending the title that his team won four years ago in Berlin, Italian coach Lippi needs to cut players from his provisional 28. Forwards Marco Borriello, Fabio Quagliarella and Giuseppe Rossi are in the firing line. However, Lippi, who will be replaced by Cesare Prandelli after the World Cup, is not giving any clues.

"Just have some patience and on Tuesday evening you'll know everything," the veteran coach told a news conference on Sunday. Germany has not won the title since before unification, having captured three as West Germany, and wants to make up for failing to win four years ago on home turf.

"It's going to hurt for two players," Loew said after his German team beat Hungary 3-0 in Saturday's warmup game in Budapest, although he has given little indication about who will be cut. "No player knows who is seeded and who has to fear," said Lukas Podolski, who looks sure to make the squad after a solid performance and a goal in the win over Hungary.

Marcell Jansen, who is coming back after a long-term foot injury and played 30 unremarkable minutes against Hungary, is in danger. Although Jansen is valuable to Loew because he can be used as a midfielder or a defender, his fitness is a question mark. "It was his first game, his first competitive situation after a long time," Loew said. "It was a good test over 30 minutes. But the World Cup has a high level of load and I will have to speak to the doctors and to him again. He still couldn't play 90 minutes." Loew has said he will take six strikers to the World Cup, but with injuries restricting his choice of midfielders, he may reconsider.

Top scorer at the last World Cup in 2006, Miroslav Klose is likely to make the cut although he has played little for Bayern this season. If a forward is cut, it could be Stefan Kiessling. After having lost experienced midfielder and captain Michael Ballack to injury, Germany lost defender Heiko Westermann with a broken bone in his left foot during Saturday's victory in Budapest.

Despite lingering injury problems, Spain has already named its final squad and so have other leading contenders such as Brazil, Argentina, and the Netherlands. France coach Raymond Domenech has said he is sticking with the provisional 23 he has already named.

First Published: May 31, 2010 10:49 IST