Arjen Robben, the Holland winger, will undergo a scan today to assess the extent of a hamstring injury he sustained in a rout of Hungary yesterday. The Bayern Munich flyer, who came on as a second-half substitute, scored two goals in the 6-1 win before leaving the game in the 85th minute. He fell awkwardly after cutting inside from the right and trying to deliver a deft pass to the right with his left foot.
"I thought to myself, 'This can't be true,'" said Bert van Marwijk, the Holland coach. "He made an unnatural movement and injured his hamstring. "You sometimes see that people with injuries like this are fit again in a few weeks. I'm hoping for that." Robin van Persie, who continued his fine form with another goal, said he hoped that Robben would be ready to play in the first game against Denmark on June 14.
"I hope he's OK, because he's a very important player for us," Van Persie said. "Everyone is down now." Robben was not the only worry for the Dutch. Johnny Heitinga, the centre back, was substituted after about an hour and his ankle was immediately wrapped in ice. The match was the Netherlands' final warm-up before they left for South Africa last night. They earlier beat Mexico 2-1 and Ghana 4-1 to extend their unbeaten run to a national record 18 matches.
Hungary did not qualify for the World Cup, but will meet the Netherlands in the qualifying tournament for the 2012 European Championship. John Obi Mikel, the Nigeria midfielder, became the latest high-profile player to be ruled out of the tournament yesterday. The Chelsea midfielder will miss the showpiece in South Africa with a knee injury. Mikel sat out a pair of warm-up matches against Saudi Arabia and Colombia, but had been expected to play against South Korea today.
He becomes the fourth Chelsea player to suffer injury ahead of the tournament, with Michael Ballack (Germany), Michael Essien (Ghana) and Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) all either ruled out or a major doubt. The growing list of injuries has become a concern for Brazil. Grafite, the striker, said "everybody was talking about" the injuries and the risk of "missing the World Cup." Rio Ferdinand, the England captain, was ruled out of the tournament after injuring ligaments in his left knee in England's practice on Friday.
Maicon, the Brazil defender, says it is "sad" to have such important players out. Dunga, the Brazil coach, has said doctors have been trying to balance the team's preparation ahead of the tournament to try to avoid injuries. The players underwent a series of examinations before arriving in South Africa and have been spending much of the time in Johannesburg trying to improve their physical condition.
"There might be occasions in which the best training is done at the gym, to get players in good condition following their long seasons," Dunga said. Brazil have had two injury scares since arriving in South Africa on their quest to win a record sixth World Cup title. Julio Cesar, the goalkeeper, injured his back in Brazil's 3-0 win over Zimbabwe on Wednesday and missed two days of practice before returning to action yesterday.
He joined the rest of the players but practised with reduced intensity, and Heurelho Gomes, the No 2 goalkeeper, was in goal when the regular starters faced the reserves. Michel Bastos, the first-choice left-back, had to leave a practice session on Friday after being hit on the right ankle in a challenge with midfielder Elano. He limped off the field but also recovered in time for training yesterday.