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World Cup update

Green and Van Buyten win, Ribéry doubtful

Belgium, including FCB stalwart Daniel van Buyten, look in good shape on the road to Brazil. Coach Marc Wilmots' team won their second World Cup warm-up game on Sunday night with a 2-0 victory against Sweden, in which Van Buyten went the full distance.

“We created chances and kept it tight at the back at the same time. It was a good test for us,” declared the 36-year-old defender after the match. Romelu Lukaku (35) and Eden Hazard (79) found the back of the net for Belgium in Stockholm. The 21-year-old Lukaku bagged a hat-trick a few days ago in the 5-1 win against Luxembourg.

Van Buyten remains the top scorer in the current Belgium squad with ten goals for his country. “But Romelu Lukaku is catching up,” joked the defender who almost added to his tally in Sweden with a header. “I hope I'll be overtaken in the next game [6 June against Tunisia].”

Green plays

Two friendlies have brought two wins for USA with FCB youngster Julian Green in their ranks. The 18-year-old came off the bench on 64 minutes in the 2-1 win against Turkey to earn his second full international cap.

The goals in Harrison/New Jersey, where FC Bayern are due to play a friendly on 1 August, were netted by Hoffenheim player Fabian Johnson (26) and captain Clint Dempsey (52). Selcuk Inan scored a consolation goal for Turkey from the penalty spot on 89 minutes.

World Cup without Ribéry?

France were held to a 1-1 draw against Paraguay in Nice on Sunday night. Franck Ribéry was ruled out through injury for the friendly. The French team were denied victory in the penultimate minute of normal time when Victor Cáceres levelled the scores. Antoine Griezmann gave France the lead on 82 minutes.

In France itself Ribéry is making more headlines than the match. According to a report on French television, the European Footballer of the Year is in danger of missing the World Cup finals in Brazil, as he could be out of action for weeks due to a back injury. There has been no comment from the French camp. The FCB pro missed the game against Paraguay and was also unavailable for the 4-0 victory over Norway five days ago.