Arjen Robben trained away from his Dutch team-mates on Tuesday and coach Bert van Marwijk said he may be eight days away from playing at the FIFA World Cup™.
The Netherlands beat Denmark 2-0 in their tournament opener at Ellis Park on Monday without the Bayern Munich winger and at this stage it is unlikely that he will be match fit to take on Japan in Durban on Saturday.
Robben injured his left hamstring in a 6-1 friendly win over Hungary in Amsterdam the week before the FIFA World Cup, but was involved in a few training drills on Tuesday.
"He is coming along well, but he is not yet ready to play for an entire game and it could be another eight days," said van Marwijk. "I have to talk with our medical staff about Arjen, but I wouldn't expect him to be at his top until next week."
If that is the case then Robben will miss the Netherlands' match with Japan, who securedtheir first ever FIFA World Cup victory on foreign soil in a 1-0 win over Cameroon in Bloemfontein on Monday.
"We beat Denmark 2-0, so I can hardly say we missed him," said van Marwijk. "We have speed and creativity in our selection, Arjen is an exceptional player, he is creative and super-fast so I am pleased we have him in South Africa. It does create some reassurance that we can call him up when the time is right."
Van Marwijk said the familiarity with Denmark's game made for a no-mistakes contest on Monday, but he was expecting a different challenge against the Japanese.
"Now the players are more relaxed and less nervous after their opening game I expect a better performance against Japan," he said.
"The opening game in a tournament is always difficult, and while our first-half performance was not up to our standard, we should have worked things out better over this week in training."