Coentrão out as Portugal limp into U.S. World Cup encounter


The U.S. have injury concerns of their own, but they pale in comparison to their next World Cup opponent, Portugal.

The Portuguese Federation announced fullback Fábio Coentrão will miss the rest of the tournament after suffering a “second grade tear of the abductor longus muscle in the right thigh” against Germany in the first round of group play.

Coentrão’s injury magnifies Portugal’s problems on the backline. Hot-head defender Pepe received a red card against Germany after a gentle and unnecessary headbutt on German dynamo Thomas Muller.

Both Real Madrid defenders represent the highest level of skill in the Portuguese backline. Their absence will force the Seleccao to either choose four of their remaining five defenders for the match or perhaps convert a midfielder to fortify their backline.

That isn’t the least of their issues. Target striker Hugo Almeida left the Germany encounter 28 minutes into the match with a first grade tear in his left hamstring. Keeper Rui Patricio also suffered what is being labeled a first grade thigh tear. Both are expected for the rest of the tournament but are questionable against the U.S..

While that may be good news for Jurgen Klinsmann’s men, the U.S. have injury concerns of their own. Alejandro Bedoya, Clint Dempsey and Matt Besler all fell to injury at one point during the match but look to be ready for the Portugal encounter. Jozy Altidore, however, remains a longshot after pulling up with a hamstring strain. Klinsmann has not ruled him out of the tournament just yet, remaining hopeful that the young New Jersey product returns to health in time to compete.

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