World Cup Insider: Van der Vaart ruled out

The Northern Echo: INJURED: Rafael van der Vaart has been ruled out of this year's World Cup INJURED: Rafael van der Vaart has been ruled out of this year's World Cup

HOLLAND midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has been ruled out of the World Cup after he picked up a calf injury in training.

The side’s most experienced player was named in Louis van Gaal’s provisional squad and he was widely expected to be rewarded with a seat on the flight to Brazil.

However due to the injury the Dutchman will now miss what would have been his third World Cup in an Orange shirt.

Van der Vaart picked up the strain on his right leg in the team's final session before heading back to Rotterdam for Saturday’s friendly against Ghana.

GERMANY’S World Cup preparations have been rocked after news that two members of the provisional squad have been involved in a car accident, which left two others injured.

Schalke teammates Benedikt Hoewedes and Julian Draxler were passengers in an event for Mercedes, with Formula One driver Nico Rosberg and professional touring driver, Pascal Wehrlein.

The accident occurred when Wehrlein struck two men near the team hotel, leaving one seriously hurt as he was doing laps of a short circuit in the mountains near the German team's hotel in Northern Italy.

The German duo weren’t hurt in the accident and have resumed training.

EDINSON Cavani admits Uruguay are "discouraged" by Luis Suarez's injury problems but remain hopeful the Liverpool striker will still play some part in the World Cup.

The Paris St Germain forward will shoulder the side's attacking responsibility should Suarez fail to recover in time from his knee operation, but would be happier to share the spotlight with the Premier League's top-scorer.

Uruguay's opening match against Costa Rica on June 15 may be unrealistic for Suarez even if he makes the squad, but the second group match against an England side led by Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard is an obvious target.

DIDIER Deschamps was on a high after watching his France side beat Norway 4-0 on Tuesday night.

Les Bleus turned up their World Cup preparations with a comfortable win in Paris - a performance which energised everyone in the French game.

Deschamps fed off the energy of the crowd and had plenty to smile about afterwards.

"It was great," he told reporters afterwards. "The stadium was full and we'd had a good week. It materialised in the match, we had all the ingredients.

"We had intensity, determination. I was able to give players some playing time and there is a collective desire."

ITALY captain Gianluigi Buffon believes that anything less than a quarter-final appearance at the FIFA World Cup would be a failure.

Goalkeeper Buffon helped Italy win the 2006 World Cup, while they also reached the UEFA Euro 2012 final before losing to Spain.

The 36-year-old is confident that his team have the ability to cause upsets throughout the tournament and praised their ability to avoid surprise defeats.

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