2010 FIFA World Cup: Swiss Star Alexander Frei Might Be Fit For Spain

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIJune 12, 2010

GENEVA - JUNE 05:  Gennaro Gattuso of Italy battles for the ball with Alexander Frei of Switzerland during the international friendly match between Switzerland and Italy at Stade de Geneve ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa on June 5, 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

On Thursday Swiss star goal scorer Alexander Frei limped off a Zurich practice field, favoring an ankle.

The Swiss figure to have few goals in South Africa as it is. They certainly could not afford to lose their one true goal scoring threat.

It was not looking good Thursday evening as Switzerland was preparing to depart for South Africa. Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld was even considering leaving his 31-year-old captain behind.

But by Friday things were looking better. Frei had made the trip with the team to South Africa.

"I am sure that Alex will make his games in South Africa," Hitzfeld said on Friday. "If I was not confident, Alex would not be with us now. We are in a battle against time, but all of us will do our very best to get Alex ready in time."

Frei rode a bike on Friday and, although still limping, seemed to be getting around better than the previous day.

Frei has had some bad luck in his international career. Two years ago in the Euros, Frei was injured in the first game of the tournament and had to watch the rest of the matches from the sidelines.

He also broke his arm earlier this year, which at first threatened to keep him out of the World Cup, but he recovered quickly.

Frei's 40 international goals is the all-time record for the country.

The ankle injury on Thursday in the training session was the result of a rather zealous tackle from Von Bergern. Hitzfeld, however, refused to blame Von Bergen.

"We are preparing for a World Cup and you have got to have tackles," Hitzfeld said. "The players have got to train hard, at a high pace and of course you risk injuries. We are preparing for the games against Spain, Chile and Honduras and we need a certain level of intensity."

Switzerland has their first game in the World Cup on Wednesday against heavily favored Spain. They're hoping Frei will be in the starting 11. With him they have little chance against Spain.

Without him they have none.