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Yaya Toure struggling with injury, could be out for Ivory Coast’s opener

Jun 11, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT

Is Yaya Toure perhaps the best midfielder in the Premier League? AP

The Ivory Coast medical staff is staying quiet as to what exactly is ailing Yaya Toure but one thing is clear, the midfielder is struggling for fitness and could be out of his country’s World Cup opener against Japan on Sunday.

Toure underwent surgery in Qatar last month to repair an unspecified problem and since then has been unable to appear in a warm-up match or even complete a full training sessions with his teammates.

For Les Elephants, it’s a worrying prospectus. Yaya, who’s brother Kolo was recently deemed healthy to play following a bout with malaria, is the key component to the Ivory Coast’s chances of progressing out of Group C. Toure enjoyed the season of his life for Manchester City this past year, notching 24 goals and 12 assists in all competitions.

That type of output will be crucial if the Ivory Coast is to escape from a highly competitive group that includes Colombia, Greece and Japan. With every passing day though, it’s becoming a bigger ask. The injury has already forced him to join the national team late at training camp in the United States and he was unable to appear in either warm-up matches, against Bosnia & Herzegovina and El Salvador.

The last known injury to Toure was to his thigh, suffered last April, causing him to miss league matches against Sunderland and West Brom. The midfielder then returned to City to play in all four final matches, scoring twice on the way to hoisting the Premier League title.

The Ivory Coast face Japan on Sunday, Colombia on June 19th and Greece on June 24th.

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