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Rafael is ruled out

SHORT TAKES

Amsterdam: Netherlands midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has been ruled out of the World Cup after he picked up a calf injury at a training camp in Portugal, the Dutch football association KNVB confirmed on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old sat out of training on Monday because of a fever before conducting an individual session on Tuesday. It was during this session that he got injured.

Good news

St Martin: Germany’s hopes of having a fully fit squad at next month’s World Cup received a boost on Wednesday when midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger (inflamed knee) and Sami Khedira (torn cruciate ligament) trained with the team for the first time. However, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has been ruled out for at least a few more days as he recovers from a shoulder injury.

Buffon view

Milan: Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon considers Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Germany as favourites to win the World Cup in Brazil. He listed his own team among the dark horses. “If we get to the quarter finals or further, it will be a positive World Cup. Sometimes we surprise in the games in which we don’t start as favourites,” added Buffon.

Atletico move

Madrid: Spanish champions Atletico Madrid have agreed to sign teenage forward Angel Correa from San Lorenzo in his native Argentina on a five-year contract pending a medical.

Bagan recruit

Calcutta: Mohun Bagan roped in Jeje Lalpekhlua for the 2014-2015 season on Wednesday

Demise

Kuala Lumpur: International hockey suffered a huge loss on Wednesday as the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah passed away here at the age of 86. Sultan Azlan Shah was known as the ‘Father of Malaysian Hockey’ for his contribution to the sport for over 41 years — both as a player and an administrator.

China to host

New Delhi: Kunshan in China will host the 2016 Thomas and Uber Cup finals, Badminton World Federation (BWF) president Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen announced, here, on Wednesday. Lima will stage the 2015 World Junior Championship.

Sushil point

New Delhi: Ready to compete in a new weight category — 74 kg — for the first time, Sushil Kumar says the upcoming Senior International wrestling tournament in Italy will help him identify the areas he would need to work on ahead of the Commonwealth Games in July. “This competition will help me assess where I stand at the moment,” he said.

Ankita advances

Balikpapan: Top seed Ankita Raina overcame a shaky start to advance to the second round while Natasha Palha was hardly challenged in her opening match at the $25,000 ITF women’s event, here, on Wednesday.