It is always unfortunate when somebody gets hurt, and it can be rough for a player, his team, and his supporters when he misses a big match. But to miss the World Cup?? That is absolutely heartbreaking.
Rio Ferdinand was named captain of his Country, and was preparing for his fourth World Cup, then he got hurt in training. Michael Ballack, Germany's captain, will miss what would have been his final chance at lifting the trophy. Now Arjen Robben, whose spectacular form this season led Bayern Munich to the Champion's League Final and put him amongst the top 10 players in the world, has hurt his hamstring and looks doubtful.
Andrea Pirlo is also hurt, although Italy are still hopeful he will feature in later matches of the tournament. I'll be honest, I can't stand Pirlo, and I hate watching the Italians, I hate the way they play, the playacting every time a defender breathes on them, the sense of entitlement at International tournaments, the accepted bribery and match fixing in Serie A, I despise all of it. I hope they lose every match 10-0, and that Pirlo has to sit and watch from the sidelines. In fact, I hope he gets bitten by a rare spider while watching from the sidelines and all of his hair falls out.
All of that aside, the real heartbreak is for the African players who have seen their dreams of representing their countries on their own continent shattered. Michael Essien is an outstanding player, and he will be sorely missed by Ghana, but the entire Black Stars midfield is looking extremely delicate. Sulley Muntari is nursing an injury, and Stephen Appiah has only played 2 matches all season. It was this outstanding midfield that got Ghana into the last 16 in 2006, and they had high hopes for this summer.
We all know the big one though. Didier Drogba, probably the world's best striker, the supreme ambassador of African football, the captain of Ivory Coast's "Golden Generation", has broken his arm. It is hard to understand for a lot of people how much Drogba means to African football. Most people know he helped to stop a civil war, but hearing these words does not really convey their meaning. Drogba has spoken out about issues such as AIDS and poverty that most professional athletes wouldn't go within a mile of. The video of Didier Drogba moving around during the World Cup following by tens of thousands of adoring supporters from all corners of the continent would have been a sight to behold, and might have given the rest of the world just a tinge of what he means to the nations of Africa.