Monday Kickoff: England plays final tune-up, USA-England ref has suspect past and more

Monday Kickoff: England plays final tune-up, USA-England ref has suspect past and more

U.S. Men's National Team

Monday Kickoff: England plays final tune-up, USA-England ref has suspect past and more

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As the countdown to the start of the World Cup hits five days, the anticipation continues to build about a tournament that has arguably had more publicity surround it than any previous World Cup.

The U.S. national team is six days away from taking on England, and is enjoying a day off today, while the English play in a final tune-up scrimmage against South African club team Platinum Stars. England manager Fabio Capello is playing most of his starters (with Wayne Rooney among the starters being given a rest) today.

Here is the lineup England is fielding for today's tune-up:

——————-Peter Crouch—–Jermaine DeFoe————————-

Joe Cole——-Steven Gerrard—-Frank Lampard–Shawn Wright-Phillips

Ashley Cole——-John Terry——–Ledley King—————Glen Johnson

——————————–Joe Hart——————————————

American fans were treated to some good news on Sunday after reports from training camp revealed that Jozy Altidore is making good progress in his recovery from an ankle sprain. He is looking like a good bet to start against England, barring any setbacks.

Here are some other stories from today and the weekend to get this week started:

USA-ENGLAND REF HAS SUSPECT RECORD

The referee assigned to officiate the U.S. national team's high-profile World Cup opener against England has a bit of a questionabl past after it was revealed he was suspended for six weeks just last year amid accusations of corruption.

Brazilian referee Carlos Simon is set to officiate in his third straight World Cup, but questions are sure to be asked about his disciplinary history in his native Brazil. It should be noted that while there are reportedly a handful of incidents involving Simon and matches in Brazil, he has not come under any scrutiny for his officiating at previous World Cups, which includes England's 2002 World Cup opener against Sweden.

NEWS & NOTES

Didier Drogba is ready to rejoin his Ivory Coast teammates after successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered during a friendly against Japan last week. It remains unclear whether Drogba will be available for Ivory Coast's World Cup opener against Portugal next week.

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The Netherlands are still bringing Arjen Robben to South Africa despite a hamstring tear, and Robben still believes he can recover in time to play some part for the Dutch.

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Wilson Palacios' injury scare appears to have been a bit of a false alarm as he is now reportedly fit and ready for the World Cup.

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What do you think of these developments? Relieved to hear that Altidore is doing better? Worried about the Brazilian referee calling USA-England? Happy to finally hear some promising news about all the injured stars at the World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

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