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June 5, 2010

Injured Drogba says he'll miss Cup

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World Cup Injuries: Drogba, Ferdinand
Updates on injured superstars Didier Drogba, Rio FerdinandTags: World Cup Soccer

SION, Switzerland -- Didier Drogba told teammate Kolo Toure that he will miss the World Cup after breaking his right arm Friday in a warm-up match.

"For him, he said, the World Cup is finished," Toure said.

The 32-year-old Drogba was taken off 15 minutes into Ivory Coast's 2-0 win over Japan after a high challenge by Japan defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka. He was then rushed to a hospital.

"We can just see on his face that he was sad, and when he is like that you can't ask more," Toure said. "It is difficult for us because he is such a really important player."

Team spokesman Eric Kacou told The Associated Press that "it is a fracture in his right arm," but coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said the team hadn't officially ruled out its captain.

"We are not sure yet," Eriksson said, saying Drogba's participation was "still a possibility."

Toure said Ivory Coast's players were hoping for a surprising recovery, and said the team would know more later Friday.

The Ivory Coast football federation issued a statement to Press Association Sport, which read: "Didier Drogba's state of health is the object of all the attention of the Elephants' medical staff and of distinguished specialists. The Ivory Coast Football Federation stress that the striker Didier Drogba has not, for the moment, been ruled out of the 2010 World Cup."

Media reports indicated that Drogba was undergoing elbow surgery in Switzerland to salvage his chances of participating in South Africa.

Japan's Tulio said he had no intention of hurting Drogba.

"God and everybody in the stadium saw it was a normal challenge," said the Brazil-born defender, who was shown a yellow card. "I do hope he gets better in time to play in the World Cup."

Drogba scored 29 goals in 32 Premier League matches this season, helping Chelsea win the title.

Friday's friendly was the final warm-up for Ivory Coast and Japan before they travel to South Africa. The Ivorians open the World Cup on June 15 against Portugal in Port Elizabeth, while Japan begins a day earlier against Cameroon in Bloemfontein.

Drogba appeared to be holding his right side after Tulio's challenge. After returning from the hospital, the striker entered the team bus without speaking to reporters.

Eriksson said the injury was unlucky, and didn't blame Tulio.

"It wasn't bad or stupid. He didn't want to hurt anyone," the Swedish coach said. "Football is a game of contact."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.