Portugal will be without forward Cristiano Ronaldo for their opening matches against Cyprus and Norway after the star suffered an ankle injury in Real Madrid’s scoreless draw in their league opener against Mallorca.
Ronaldo is expected to miss at least three weeks, as he won’t be fit for one league game along with Real’s first Champions League match vs. Ajax.
He suffered the injury in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory at Blackburn. He’ll miss the Netherlands two qualifiers against San Marino and Finland.
Van Persie is no stranger to injury, as he missed five months last season after suffering ankle ligament damage.
RVP’s loss is Ruud van Nistelrooy’s gain, with the 34 year-old getting recalled into the Dutch set-up for the first time in two years.
France, already shorthanded due to suspensions, face an even tougher challenge as holding midfielder Lassana Diarra has been ruled out of matches against Belarus and Bosnia.
He played the entire match for Real Madrid on Sunday, but was found to be suffering from problems to his right leg post-match.
Next, Ireland’s hopes took a hit when they were informed that winger Damien Duff would miss at least one qualifier due to a calf problem.
As for England, manager Fabio Capello could be in even more trouble if his squad can’t get through a couple of qualifiers without a trio of their stars.
With the Three Lions looking to regroup from a miserable 2010 World Cup, England faces a terrible injury crisis as they’ll meet both Bulgaria and Switzerland without Chelsea pair John Terry and Frank Lampard, as well as lanky Tottenham striker Peter Crouch.
Crouch’s back problem isn’t thought to be serious, but it is enough to keep him out of England’s opening Euro 2012 fixtures.
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