Koller could return for World Cup

April 27, 2006

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- Jan Koller, sidelined since September with a knee injury, could be ready to play in the Czech Republic's World Cup opener against the United States on June 12.

Czech coach Karel Bruckner said Thursday that the 33-year-old forward may return to action for Borussia Dortmund before the Bundesliga season ends on May 13.

"He's optimistic about his participation at the World Cup," Bruckner said.

Koller was expected to be sidelined for at least eight months after tearing ligaments in his left knee during a Bundesliga game on Sept. 24 and having surgery Oct. 7. Koller, who is 6-foot-7, has 40 goals in 66 international appearances, including nine goals in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.

Bruckner said three other players were still doubtful for the World Cup: Bordeaux midfielder Vladimir Smicer, Ajax Amsterdam defender Zdenek Grygera and Salzburg forward Vratislav Lokvenc. Rosters must be submitted to FIFA by May 15.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press