Key man Tim Cahill failed to complete a full training session with the Australian squad on Tuesday just five days out from Australia's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ opener against Germany.
Cahill completed just the warm-up and light work at the session in the Johannesburg evening before sitting out the practice match which followed. The Everton attacking midfielder injured his neck in Australia's 3-1 friendly loss to the USA last Saturday and was taken to hospital for observation.
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek said scans had shown no serious injury, but Cahill is yet to train fully since that match. Cahill avoided media questioning about the extent of his injury prior to training.
While his team-mates played the practice match, Cahill was reduced to shooting for goal and light jogging. "I'm fine," was all Cahill offered when asked about his fitness.
Cahill is Australia's most important strike weapon going into the match and has the remarkable strike-rate of 20 goals in 40 international appearances. Better news was that senior Socceroos Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton returned to full training without apparent discomfort. Emerton has been battling a calf injury while Kewell was troubled by a persistent groin injury.