Welbeck a doubt for England, Jennifer Lopez fit to play
World Cup whispers: Sterling may start against Italy, Scolari nephew dies in car crash
WELBECK OR WON'T HE?
England will issue an injury update on Danny Welbeck on Wednesday as concerns grow over the fitness of the striker. The Manchester United star is believed to be nursing a thigh injury following the Three Lions training session at their Urca military base headquarters on Tuesday. Welbeck limped out of training holding his right thigh and if the 23-year-old is ruled out of contention for Saturday's clash with Italy his place in the starting XI would likely go to Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling. Meanwhile Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continued his recovery from a knee injury by jogging several laps of the training pitch.
LOPEZ MAKES A LAST MINUTE RETURN
One of the stars of the World Cup will be there after all... Jennifer Lopez, who had reportedly called off an appearance at the opening ceremony in Brazil, will now perform her much derided official anthem, We are One (Ole Ola), alongside Pitbull and Claudia Leitte. More than 600 dancers and gymnasts will join the stars in a 25-minute "tribute to the treasures of Brazil". They will be hoping to do better than the US organisers in 1994, notes the Daily Telegraph, when Diana Ross missed a penalty and Oprah Winfrey fell off the stage. The ceremony begins at 7.15pm GMT, ahead of the opening game between Brazil and Croatia.
HODGSON HAPPY IN THE HEAT
England manager Roy Hodgson insists the Manaus heat won't have a bearing on how his team approach Saturday's clash with Italy. "I don't think at this World Cup you will see a big difference in the way teams play due to conservation of energy," said Hodgson on Tuesday. "A lot has been spoken about Manaus and conservation of energy and heat. I think we just need to wait and see what Manaus brings." He also reiterated his delight to be playing in Manaus, contrary to earlier reports he was unhappy with the venue: "It's not true that we complained about Manaus or Brazil. Quite the opposite really. I think that nonsense should be put to bed right away."
More than 2,000 Argentina troublemakers have been banned from entering Brazil to support their team. Known as "Barra Bravas", the hooligans are the subject of banning orders in Argentina and are not allowed to travel abroad. "These fans will be identified and prevented from entering," said Brazilian police chief Luiz Eduardo Navajas. "If they manage to get past the controls and are found in Brazil, they will be deported." He added that he was working with police in "England, Belgium and Germany" to ensure a hooligan-free World Cup.
OPENING GAME REF REVEALED
Fifa have announced that Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura will take charge of the World Cup opener between Brazil and Croatia. The 42-year-old from Tokyo will be assisted by compatriots Toru Sagara and Toshiyuki Nagi for the much-anticipated clash in Sao Paulo's Itaquerao stadium. Nishimura, who took charge of four games at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, is only of five referees from that tournament among the 25 officials retained for the 2014 event.
OPENING CEREMONY MIRACLE
The highlight of the World Cup Opening Ceremony is likely to be paraplegic teenager who will use a robotic bodysuit to kick a ball using his or her mind. The futuristic exoskeleton, designed to enable paralysis victims to walk, is the brainchild of Brazilian doctor Miguel Nicolelis and on Thursday ceremony's in Sao Paulo a paraplegic - whose identity is a closely guarded secret - will rise from their wheelchair to take to the pitch in the suit. The exoskeleton uses motorised metal braces to support and bend the wearer's legs with the suit controlled by patterns of brain activity detected by electrodes placed either on the head or in the brain. These signals are then transmitted to a computer worn by the wearer, converting them into movements.
TRAGEDY FOR BRAZIL COACH SCOLARI
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari may miss some of Brazil's preparations for the World Cup on compassionate grounds after his nephew was killed in a traffic accident. Businessman Tarcisio Joao Schneider, 48, the son of one of Scolari's sisters, died when his car was involved in a head-on collision with a truck in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. It is the second tragedy for Scolari in recent weeks after the death last month of brother-in-law. The Brazilian football federation is yet to confirm whether Scolari will leave the team's training camp. ·