World Cup Ticker: Stampede overshadows friendly, Robben update and more

World Cup Ticker: Stampede overshadows friendly, Robben update and more

International Soccer

World Cup Ticker: Stampede overshadows friendly, Robben update and more

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South Africa Stampede 1 (Reuters)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Safety in South Africa during the World Cup has been a major concern for everyone involved, and now those concerns are even higher.

Prior to Sunday's lone international friendly between Nigeria and North Korea, a stampede occurred when fans attempted to enter the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa. The incident left at least 14 people injured, but there have been no reported deaths.

Despite the stampede, the match started on time and Nigeria disposed of North Korea, 3-1, courtesy of goals from Ayegbeni Yakubu, Victor Obinna and Obafemi Martins. Jong Tae-Se scored for North Korea.

Here are some more stories from Sunday and this weekend:

Robben not ruled out

Arjen Robben's injury does not seem as serious as initially feared, and the Dutch winger has not yet been ruled out of the World Cup.

Having injured his left hamstring in a 6-1 win against Hungary in Amsterdam on Saturday, Robben could still join his teammates in South Africa after Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk said he would give Robben every opportunity to play in the tournament.

Whether Robben can recuperate or not, Marwijk has until Thursday to summon a replacement, otherwise Robben will officially be placed on the Netherlands' World Cup team.

Julio Cesar to miss Tanzania friendly

Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar will miss his first international match in two years when he sits out of Brazil's friendly against Tanzania on Monday in an effort to recover from a back injury. Julio Cesar sustained the injury in the first half of Brazil's 3-0 victory over Zimbabwe earlier in the week, and will not travel to Tanzania with the rest of the team.

The Inter Milan goalkeeper is expected to recover in time for Brazil's Group G opener against North Korea on June 15.

Algeria struggles to top United Arab Emirates

Algeria won its final World Cup warm-up match and ended a four-game winles streak against United Arab Emirates on Saturday, but it needed a second-half penalty kick to do so.

The Desert Foxes won, 1-0, through a spot kick from Karim Ziani, but the match was a fairly even encounter due to their penchant of failing to convert chances. Algeria also had problems with possession throughout the game.

One positive for Algeria was the return of several injured players, including Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra.

Slovenia defeats New Zealand

Milivoje Novakovic scored two splendid free kicks en route to helping Slovenia win its final World Cup tuneup against New Zealand, 3-1, on Friday. Andraz Kirm scored the Europeans' third just before halftime, while Rory Fallon accounted for New Zealand's goal.

Here' are all four goals, including the pair of free kicks:

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Does the stampede concern you about safety in South Africa? Think Netherlands' chances of a good showing hinge on Robben's health? Do you see Julio Cesar starting against North Korea? Starting to think Algeria will be an easy three points for the USMNT? Worried about Novakovic's free kick ability?

Share your thoughts below.

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