Wednesday Kickoff: Rafa to Inter, Iniesta hurt in Spain rout of Poland and more

Wednesday Kickoff: Rafa to Inter, Iniesta hurt in Spain rout of Poland and more

European Soccer

Wednesday Kickoff: Rafa to Inter, Iniesta hurt in Spain rout of Poland and more

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RafaGetty

By AVI CREDITOR

After days of speculation, the search Jose Mourinho's successor at Inter Milan has come to an end, and that successor will be former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.

Benitez and Inter have reached an agreement on a contract, though his official presentation as the new coach at the San Siro has not yet been scheduled.

Mourinho left for Real Madrid after guiding Inter to its historic treble, winning the UEFA Champions League, Scudetto and Copa Italia during the 2009-2010 campaign. Benitez, who won the Champions League once with Liverpool, will enter with the highest of expectations of maintaining Mourinho's level of success.

The search for Benitez' replacement at Liverpool is still going on, with candidates such as Fulham's Roy Hodgson and Bayern Munich's Louis van Gaal being touted as the front-runners.

Here are a few other soccer items to start your day:

INIESTA HURT IN SPAIN WIN

In its final tune-up before the World Cup, Spain put on a goal-scoring show against Poland, beating its European counterparts 6-0.

Marring the victory somewhat was a thigh injury suffered by midfield maestro Andres Iniesta, who had to come off in the 39th minute. Initial tests reveal a minor injury and no muscle tear for Iniesta, who dealt with a thigh problem all season for Barcelona. He hasn't played 90 minutes for Spain since February of last year, and his presence is crucial for Spain's success, which was evident in Tuesday's rout.

Here are the highlights from the match:

COLE, BALLACK RELEASED BY CHELSEA

England midfielder Joe Cole will be looking to have a stellar World Cup not only to boost England's hopes, but to improve his chances at getting an even bigger contract from a top team. Cole and Michael Ballack were released into the open market by Chelsea, joining a talented crowd of free agents looking for new teams.

Cole has been linked with Chelsea foes Arsenal and Tottenham. Ballack, who suffered an injury in the FA Cup final against Portsmouth and will miss the World Cup, has been linked to clubs in the United Arab Emirates, although reports say that Mourinho is interested in him.

JULIO CESAR EXPECTED TO BE READY

Brazil coach Dunga said that he expects No. 1 keeper Julio Cesar to be in goal for the Selecao's World Cup opener against North Korea. The Inter Milan keeper suffered a back injury in Brazil's friendly against Zimbabwe last week and sat out this week's friendly against Tanzania.

WC JOURNALISTS ROBBED

Three journalists were robbed early Wednesday morning (South African time) in Magaliesburg after armed suspects entered their hotel rooms and took their valuable belongings. Police were called and are still searching for the suspects.

Ives, be safe.

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Think Rafa is the man for the job at Inter? Who do you think should take over at Liverpool? Thoroughly impressed by Spain? Think La Furia Roja can win the World Cup with an unfit Iniesta? Where would be good fits for Cole and Ballack?

Share your thoughts below.

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