A slew of marquee players will be playing hurt — or possibly not at all — at Euro 2008.
Swiss defender Patrick Mueller and teammate Tranquillo Barnetta, Dutch forward Robin van Persie and Czech Republic captain Tomas Ujfalusi enter the three-week tournament dealing with nagging injury problems.
Mueller, 31, said Wednesday he is still not fully healthy after tearing a cruciate knee ligament in December, and might not be ready to play in Switzerland's opening match of the tournament on June 7 against the Czechs.
"I cannot say I'm 100 per cent ready," Mueller told reporters at the Swiss training camp. "There are certainly other players who are more ready than me, but that is natural when you look at the season I've had."
Barnetta, Switzerland's chief playmaker, injured his ankle on May 20 and could possibly join Mueller on the sidelines for Saturday's game.
"We'll see after this evening's training, and then I'll answer," Swiss team doctor Roland Grossen said.
Czech Republic coach Karel Brueckner revealed Wednesday that Ujfalusi is dealing with an abdominal muscle problem, but said he hopes the defender will be fine to play Saturday.
Van Persie told reporters Wednesday he could struggle to last an entire game after enduring an injury-plagued season with Arsenal. The Dutchman played only 15 Premier League matches for the London club and has suffered through 18 months of injury problems, which started with a broken bone in his foot last January.
"I can say right now that I am ready for it, but it might be tough to play the full 90 minutes," Van Persie said.
The Netherlands opens its Euro 2008 campaign next Monday against world champion Italy.
Romania Dorin Goian has recovered from an ankle injury, and according to a statement on the UEFA Wednesday the central defender is expected to play against France in Zurich on Monday.
Patrick Vieira will not be lining up against him; the influential French midfielder has been ruled out for the Romania game because of a left ankle injury.
French coach Raymond Domenech has recalled midfielder Mathieu Flamini to the French squad as a possible replacement for Vieira. Flamini had been part of Domenech's provisional 30-man squad but failed to make the final cut.
France has until Sunday, one day before the Romania game, to make changes to its roster in case of an injury.
Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro tore ligaments in his left ankle during a training session on Monday, just hours after Italy arrived in the country in preparation for Euro 2008.
Cannavaro underwent surgery on Wednesday in Vienna and even though he won't play in the tournament, the Italian defender will remain with Italy's squad for the duration of the competition.