WORLD CUP: Offside

US squad assembles

CARY: Three players still have some unfinished work in Europe, but the bulk of the 23-man American roster for next month’s World Cup assembled here for workouts that began on Wednesday. US star playmaker Landon Donovan is among 11 Major League Soccer players that are a month into their club season who will have to blend their talents with 12 European-based players just finishing their campaigns. The US team will face the Czech Republic, Italy and Ghana in Group E matches.

Kalou loses appeal

ROTTERDAM: A civil court in Rotterdam has rejected an appeal by Feyenoord’s Ivorian striker Salomon Kalou against the decision of immigration minister Rita Verdonk to deny his application for Dutch citizenship. Kalou will miss the FIFA World Cup after a judge ruled on Tuesday that Verdonk’s demand that Kalou should pass a naturalisation exam was justified. Netherlands coach Marco van Basten had guaranteed him a spot in his World Cup squad if he got his Dutch passport. Verdonk told parliament in March that Kalou did not fulfil the criteria for fast-track citizenship and would have to retake a Dutch language and culture test.

Be careful, says Eusebio

LISBON: Legendary striker Eusebio has warned Portugal’s squad against complacency during the group stage at the World Cup which it will begin with a match against debutants Angola in Germany on June 11. “Be humble. Think that the first game is the final.

And be careful with Angola. If they are at the World Cup it is because they are tops in Africa,” he said. Portugal are in Group D which pits them against Iran, Mexico and Angola. Eusebio blamed overconfidence for Portugal’s first-round exit from the 2002 World Cup held in Japan and South Korea.