Afternoon Ticker: Ronaldo back to 100 percent; Brazil schedules U.S.-based friendlies; and more

Afternoon Ticker: Ronaldo back to 100 percent; Brazil schedules U.S.-based friendlies; and more

World Cup 2014

Afternoon Ticker: Ronaldo back to 100 percent; Brazil schedules U.S.-based friendlies; and more

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By CAITLIN MURRAY

The Cristiano Ronaldo injury saga continues and in the latest twist, Portugal teammate William Carvalho told media that, as far as he knows, Ronaldo is fine.

“I think he’s now 100 percent fit,” Carvalho said Friday outside Portugal’s training base in Campinas, Brazil.

Ronaldo had sparked renewed fears over a lingering thigh injury and left knee tendinosis when he left Portugal’s training early Thursday after only 20 minutes wearing an ice pack around the injured knee. Ronaldo had missed three matches for Portugal but returned for one, a 5-1 thrashing of Ireland, the day before the team trip to Brazil.

Ronaldo was seen training at near-capacity on Saturday, but was noticeably protective of his left knee, according to a report.

Although Cavalho said it seemed Ronaldo was fine, he said it was unclear what the status of the lingering knee injury was.

“Regarding his physical fitness, that’s more for the doctors and physios to reply,” Carvalho said, “but of course he’s a very important player for us, the best in the world.”

Here are some more of the latest international stories:

BRAZIL TO PLAY FRIENDLIES IN U.S. FOLLOWING WORLD CUP

Brazil is coming to America.

For their first friendlies after the World Cup ends, the Brazil men’s national team will play two matches stateside, according to a report.

Brazil is scheduled to face Colombia on Sept. 5 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Then, four days later, they’ll play Ecuador at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The timing of the matches was dictated by FIFA’s international calendar for international friendlies.

SUAREZ WON’T PLAY TO OPEN WORLD CUP

Superstar Luis Suarez will not start in Uruguay’s first group match to open the World Cup.

The move appears to be a precautionary one as Suarez continues recovery from a May 21 knee operation with team manager Oscar Tabarez telling reporters the team is prepared to play without him.

“We still have one day to go. We don’t want to jump the gun,” Tabarez said. “We have prepared not to have him, but it would be wonderful to have him. We have to be very careful.”

Tabarez added: “We are increasing his pace of recovery and up until now there have been no glitches. Yesterday afternoon Suarez did the most important thing in training, which is play football.”

AMERICAN REFEREES TO MAKE WORLD CUP DEBUT

American referee Mark Geiger has received his first assignment at the 2014 World Cup as the only head official to represent the United States.

FIFA have assigned Geiger to officiate the opening match of the third day of action at the World Cup, a Group C match between Colombia and Greece at the Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte.

Geiger will be working alongside linesman Mark Hurd of the United States and Joe Fletcher of Canada.

This will be Geiger’s first World Cup since becoming FIFA-listed in 1998. He’s officiated multiple Gold Cups, MLS matches the 2012 London Olympics, and officiated the 2011 FIFA Under-20 final.

Geiger will be the first American referee at the World Cup since 2002, according to PRO. An American referee has never officiated past the group stage.

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