ENGLAND: Sir Trevor Brooking will leave his role as the Football Association's director of football development after the World Cup.

The former West Ham United midfielder has been in the post for more than a decade and will formally leave the role on August 31.

ITALY: Coach Cesare Prandelli is not about to press the panic button despite seeing his side's winless streak stretch to seven matches with Wednesday's 1-1 draw against minnows Luxembourg.

Loading article content

The Italians, who start their World Cup campaign against England in just nine days, finished top of their qualifying group for Brazil without losing a match but they are now without a victory since beating the Czech Republic 2-1 in September.

“We completely made a mistake in marking their corner kick and Luxembourg took advantage and scored,” Prandelli said.

“I need to test some of the solutions we had been practising in training, especially in midfield. It is something I needed to do and I don't think it was a failure.

“We knew that we weren't going to be sharp considering the hard work the team has undergone in recent days. We have to improve but we leave for Brazil knowing that we can have a great World Cup.”

GERMANY: Joachim Low has revealed that goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is still working on his recovery from a shoulder injury and will not take part in the final pre-World Cup friendly against Armenia on Friday.

Fellow Bayern Munich players Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger could both return, but Low told a news conference on Thursday that neither will play for 90 minutes.

The trio had worked on their fitness during the two days of holiday between the Cameroon friendly on Sunday and tonight’s match against Armenia, and while captain Lahm and Schweinsteiger were both were able to train pain-free with the ball, Neuer was still not able to return to goalkeeping training.

NIGERIA: Stephen Keshi has said that his side will have to improve if they are to make an impact at the World Cup in Brazil.

Keshi’s side were held to a 0-0 draw with fellow World Cup finalists Greece in Philadelphia earlier this week. Both sides created chances but lacked a clinical edge to find the target.

“We will always have very difficult games but the motivation will be to do a lot better than we managed in our last couple of games,” Keshi said.

“The truth is we didn't play our game. The importance of a friendly game is to know your weakness and what needs improvement.”