Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Altidore out vs. Portugal

United States´ Jozy Altidore grimaces after pulling up injured during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014.  (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
United States' Jozy Altidore grimaces after pulling up injured during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

JOZY ALTIDORE will miss the Americans' World Cup game against Portugal on Sunday because of his strained left hamstring and appears likely to sit out next week's match against Germany.

The U.S. probably needs to advance to the knockout phase for the forward to return to the tournament.

Altidore was hurt in the 21st minute of Monday's 2-1 win over Ghana, and the U.S. Soccer Federation said yesterday he will not play against the Portuguese.

"He's a big player for us," midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. "We're extremely bummed for him and for the team, but we bring 23 players, and it's just a chance for somebody to step up. Hopefully the injury's not too bad and we can see Jozy later in the tournament."

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  • U.S. team spokesman Michael Kammarman did not reveal the severity of the strain. The Americans have just 3 days off between this weekend's game in Manaus, Brazil, and their first-round finale in Recife on June 26.

    "It's bad news, but I think the team will handle this," midfielder Jermaine Jones said. "We have to handle that."

    Aron Johannsson replaced Altidore for the second half against Ghana. Chris Wondolowski is the other striker who could join Clint Dempsey in the attack.

    A 31-year-old Californian, Wondolowski led Major League Soccer with 18 regular-season goals in 2010 and 27 in 2012, and tied for the lead with 16 in 2011.

    "He can score from anything, score when you think there's nothing, no chance, and next thing you know he scores," Beckerman said. "He works his tail off for the guy behind him. He does a lot of things that don't show up on the stat sheet."

    Johannsson, a 23-year-old who was born in Mobile, Ala., and grew up in Iceland, scored 26 goals last season for AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands.

    "Wondo is more the finisher in the box," Jones said. "Aron is more maybe the guy who's good with the ball and tries to go one against one."

    Coach Jurgen Klinsmann also could opt to shift from the 4-4-2 formation he used in the opener and start five midfielders.

    Dempsey has not decided whether he will wear a mask to protect his nose, which was broken during the Ghana game by John Boye's shin to his face during a battle for a header.

    Defender Matt Besler, who left the Ghana match at halftime because of a sore right hamstring, should be available for Sunday's game, Kammarman said.

    Portugal also has issues after its opening, 4-0 loss to Germany. Central defender Pepe was ejected after he appeared to head-butt Thomas Mueller, right back Fabio Coentrao was taken off on a stretcher and forward Hugo Almeida limped off.

    Pepe is suspended for Sunday's game, and Coentrao is out for the tournament.



    * FIFA has acknowledged being embarrassed by a security lapse that let ticketless Chile fans rampage into the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro before Wednesday's game against Spain.

    Fences have been breached by fans at both World Cup matches staged at the country's biggest and most prestigious stadium, which hosts the final on July 13.

    "It is embarrassing," FIFA director of security Ralf Mutschke said, a day after dozens of ticketless Chile fans broke into the sold-out venue ahead of their team's 2-0 win.

    Mutschke said security operations at the World Cup must "improve in order that this will not happen again."

    Brazilian authorities said 87 people were detained after smashing their way through a perimeter wire fence into the stadium media center.

    Fans stampeded through the media working area, knocking down partition walls while trying to gain access to the pitch area. They were detained by some of the 1,000-plus private security officers on match duty.

    * FIFA said it was investigating claims that Mexico fans chanted anti-gay slurs during their opening match against Cameroon.

    FIFA said "disciplinary proceedings were opened against Mexico for improper conduct of spectators" last Friday in Natal. The same chants were heard during Mexico's second match against Brazil in Fortaleza on Tuesday.

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