'Is it worth me going to the World Cup?'
Cameroon captain Samuel Eto'o threatened to stay away from the World Cup, while Diego Maradona, another man who has endured a turbulent relationship with his national side, got a lively send-off as Argentina left for South Africa.
Eto'o, who helped Inter Milan to win the Champions League final last weekend, took umbrage at remarks by Cameroon's 1990 World Cup hero Roger Milla, who said the striker had done little for the national side.
"Is it worth me going to the World Cup?" Eto'o asked on French television channel Canal Plus Sport. "I still have a few days to think about it but I will see if my participation is important because I don't need this in my career."
Eto'o did not play in Cameroon's 1-1 draw with Slovakia in a friendly in the Austrian town of Klagenfurt on Saturday but he was later named in Paul Le Guen's final 23 for the tournament.
Image: Samuel Eto'o
Coach Maradona gets enthusiastic send-off
Milla scored four goals to help the Indomitable Lions reach the quarter-finals in Italy. Since then, the team have fallen at the group stage in three World Cups and failed to qualify for the 2006 finals.
Maradona, as player and now coach, has had his ups and downs with Argentina but fans were enthusiastic as the team headed for Buenos Aires international airport.
"We're all with Diego," said Martin Bertaina, a horse trainer who had ridden his horse 20 kilometres to join the crowds lining the road to the airport.
"Diego is going to lead us to the championship," added clothing store owner Carlos Paradela, who was carrying his five-year-old grandson on his shoulders.
Image: Argentina's national coach Diego Maradona waves to fans from the Argentina team bus, in Buenos Aires, before leaving for South Africa
Fan trouble disrupts NZ-Serbia match
Serbia's stand-in captain Nemanja Vidic intervened to allow his side's friendly against New Zealand to finish in Klagenfurt, appealing for calm over the public address system as Serbian fans rioted.
Trouble erupted in the second half when Serbian fans threw missiles on to the pitch. The match was held up for several minutes, with New Zealand players and the officials preparing to walk off, before play resumed. Serbia lost 1-0.
Slovakia lost their most experienced player, Miroslav Karhan, when the defensive midfielder was ruled out of the June 11-July 11 finals after being told on Saturday that he needed three weeks off to recover from a hamstring injury.
"I am very disappointed, it is hard to say more," said Karhan, who has 96 international caps.
Image: A Serbian supporter is grabbed by a security guard after entering the pitch during the international friendly between Serbia and New Zealand in Klagenfurt
Spain scrape past Saudi
The United States, worried about a string of injuries among their defenders, came from behind to beat Turkey 2-1 in Philadelphia with goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey in their last game on home soil before the finals.
Spain, among the favourites for the World Cup after their success at Euro 2008, also had to scrap for a victory in their game against Saudi Arabia in Innsbruck, eventually grabbing a 3-2 victory thanks to a last-gasp strike from Fernando Llorente. David Villa and Xabi Alonso had scored their other goals.
Three-times World Cup winners Germany had no such problems, as they enjoyed a 3-0 win over Hungary in Budapest with goals from Lukas Podolski, Mario Gomez and Cacau.
The main plus point for Germany was the form of Sami Khedira, who excelled in the midfield role left vacant by the injured Michael Ballack.
Image: Spain's Sergio Ramos (left) and Saudi Arabia's Yasser Al Qahtani fight for possession during an international friendly in Innsbruck
Bent, Huddlestone get Eng call-up for Japan friendly
England named striker Darren Bent and midfielder Tom Huddlestone to the team to face Japan in a friendly on Sunday as manager Fabio Capello tried to decide on his final squad before Tuesday's deadline.
In South Africa, FIFA president Sepp Blatter attended the official opening of the Peter Mokaba World Cup stadium in Polokwane and declared himself delighted with ticket sales and with the form of hosts South Africa since Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira returned to lead the team.
Image: Tom Huddlestone
Prandelli named to coach Italy after World Cup
Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli has agreed to take over from Marcello Lippi as coach of the Italian national team after the World Cup in South Africa, an Italian soccer federation spokesman said.
"Prandelli will be coach for four-years," the spokesman said, explaining that the accord had been reached between Prandelli and Federation President Giancarlo Abete.
"Prandelli will be officially presented as Italy's coach after the World Cup," the spokesman said.
He added that the financial details and the composition of Prandelli's back-up staff still needed to be ironed out.
Image: Cesare Prandelli