x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

World Cup diary: Platini out of hospital following fainting spell

Michel Platini was yesterday released from hospital following his collapse in a Johannesburg restaurant on Friday night.

Michel Platini was yesterday released from hospital following his collapse in a Johannesburg restaurant on Friday night. The Uefa president fainted in the restaurant and was taken to hospital by ambulance. Platini has been suffering from flu for the last few days. Fifa and Uefa said in a joint statement: "Michel Platini, Uefa president, was released at 9am this morning from the hospital in Johannesburg where he was admitted last night after feeling unwell. All the medical tests conducted were normal and Mr Platini is looking forward to attending the final of the 2010 Fifa World Cup tomorrow in Soccer City stadium." Early reports suggested Platini had suffered a heart attack, but they were quickly denied by Uefa.

South Africa's World Cup chief has claimed Fifa need to look again at the issue of player fatigue before the 2014 tournament in Brazil. While Africa's first tournament has generally been regarded as a success, there has been widespread disappointment at the failure of football's biggest names to make any kind of impact. Lionel Messi, Kaka and Wayne Rooney did not manage a goal, Cristiano Ronaldo scored just once - in the drubbing of North Korea - and Fernando Torres heads into the final with his scoresheet blank as well. Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the South Africa 2010 organising committee, said: "Player freshness is always an issue at the World Cup. Just how many matches can the body of a football player take? Is is 70? Less? It seems at the end of a season the body cannot take the pressure and extra energy required for the World Cup."

Gerardo Martino will stay on as Paraguay coach until after the 2011 Copa America finals. Martino led Paraguay to the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time, but his future had been in doubt after reports he was set to stand down. The Paraguay's football federation announced on Thursday they had given the 47-year-old coach three weeks to consider his future, and Martino moved quickly to confirm he will stay. Martino, who signed a new deal in February, told Paraguayan television station Canal 9: "For me, it has been five months that the new contract has already been in order. However, after the Copa America a cycle will come to an end and I will leave my post."

Howard Webb, the referee in charge of the final, is getting a much better ending to his second big tournament than his first. Tonight, the former policeman with the shaved head will stride out in front of the Holland and Spain teams at Soccer City after being given his profession's most prestigious assignment. Two years ago, the Englishman was sent home early from the European Championships for a missed offside call in a match that is remembered for the death threats he got for awarding a stoppage-time penalty against Poland. Webb's ordeal was captured by a film crew making the acclaimed documentary, Kill the Referee.

A South African magistrate freed a British tabloid journalist who had been accused of trying to undermine World Cup security. The prosecutor dropped the charges after Simon Wright of the Sunday Mirror admitted to contravening the immigration act. Wright was fined 700 rand (Dh340). Authorities initially alleged that Wright was involved in an "orchestrated" attempt to undermine World Cup security after a man found his way into England's changing room at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town on June 18 after the 0-0 draw with Algeria.

World Cup officials have been a big success despite making mistakes in some games, Fifa's head of refereeing said yesterday. Jose-Marcia Garcia-Aranda said analysis of the first 62 matches showed that referees got more than 96 per cent of their decisions right. "We have to say it is not an opinion [but] facts," the Spanish official said at a news briefing. "We are not hiding our mistakes or the mistakes of the referees on the field of play."

Holland could be No 1 in the Fifa world rankings for the first time in their history if they win the World Cup. The Dutch, who are fourth in the standings currently, will take over first place from Brazil if they win their clash with Spain in normal or extra-time. Fifa also announced that Spain will move up a place from second if they win in 90 minutes or extra-time or even if they lose in a penalty shoot-out.