Bogota (Colombia): Monaco striker Radamel Falcao has been left off Colombia’s squad for the World Cup after failing to recover from a knee injury.
Coach Jose Pekerman made the announcement at a news conference on Monday from the team’s training facility in Buenos Aires, dealing a serious blow to the team’s chances at the tournament.
Falcao’s presence had been in doubt ever since he underwent knee surgery in January. But Colombians had been hoping for a miracle recovery in time for the World Cup as Falcao posted on social inspirational messages and photos of himself taking nine-kilometre (six-mile) runs.
“We can say to all of Colombia that he did more than was within his power to play,” said Pekerman. “He deserved the right for us to wait and keep the hope alive.”
Meanwhile, central defender Martin Demichelis was named in Argentina’s squad while regular reserve midfielder Ever Banega was left out.
Coach Alejandro Sabella recalled Demichelis to his provisional squad last month after his title-winning season with English Premier League side Manchester City following more than two years out of the Argentina reckoning.
France coach Didier Deschamps included Franck Ribery, who has been suffering from lower back pains, in his squad. The only change from the list Deschamps named last month features St Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier replacing the injured Steve Mandanda.
Bosnia also named their squad as the Balkan nation geared up for a final warm-up against Mexico that coach Safet Susic described as an acid test ahead of their Group F opener against Argentina on June 15.
The Bosnians, who have qualified for their first major tournament as an independent nation, are relishing the chance to notch a first win over the Mexicans in Chicago after losing both previous encounters against their opponents.
Nigeria have dropped African Nations Cup hero Sunday Mba for the submission of the final 23-man selection. Mba scored the winning goal when Nigeria beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in the African Nations Cup final.