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Robben World Cup Hopes Still Alive

Arjen Robben of the Netherlands sits on the pitch aided by teammate Ibrahim Afellay after injuring himself during their international friendly soccer match against Hungary in Amsterdam June 5, 2010. REUTERS/Michael Kooren (NETHERLANDS - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

By Mike Edwards.

Arjen Robben’s World Cup dreams have been bolstered by Bert van Marwijk who has kept the Bayern Munich star in his Dutch squad despite a hamstring injury. Robben, who was named Germany’s Footballer of the Year, limped off the pitch on Saturday against Hungary after scoring two goals.

Van Marwijk stated after the game that he would rather lost the game “and have Arjen stay fit,” instead of the 6-1 rout of the opposition. The Dutch manager now has the tough task of deciding whether to replace Robben before their opening game on June 14th against Denmark.  However, scans of the injury showed it was better than initially believed meaning Robben should be available at some point during the tournament.

The group stages are in doubt for Robben as it seems unlikely that he will be fit for games on the 19th against Japan and the 24th against Cameroon but he could make a return to the pitch in the knock out stages of the tournament.

Van Marwijk would be hard pressed to drop his star player who has been in blistering form this year helping Bayern to win the double and getting his team to the Champion’s league final where they were beaten by Inter Milan. Robben will fly out to South Africa to join his team mates this week in hope that his fitness will have improved sufficiently so he can feature in the latter stages of the tournament.

Robben is yet another addition to an increasing number of high profile players who have been injured going into the World Cup or who are missing it entirely.  The Ivory Coast, who were placed in “the group of death” along with Brazil and Portugal, will be without their talisman Didier Drogba who fractured his elbow while England are without captain Rio Ferdinand after he picked up a knee injury during training.

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