- Rio Ferdinand: the normal captain of the English favourites is out with a knee injury he got during training.
- Michael Ballack: an extraordinary player who will be missed, is out due to the Ghanaian Kevin Prince Boateng's vicious tackle in the FA Cup final. This seriously weakens the German team, who will also be without Simon Rolfes and Rene Adler.
- Michael Essien: Ghana's and Chelsea's midfield dynamo did not get past his long-term injury, and this seriously weakens Ghana, where also the veteran Stephen Appiah has been doubtful (but he is in South Africa).
- Didier Drogba, one of the best strikers in the world and a lethal weapon for the Ivory Coast, fractured his arm in a friendly match against Chile. He is in South Africa, and it seems that he may play, but it all remains highly doubtful.
- John Obi Mikel, yet another Chelsea player is out for Nigeria due to a knee injury.
- Humberto Suazo, "Chupete", Chile's leading striker, got a hamstring injury in a friendly match against Israel. He is in South Africa, but it is doubtful he will be able to play. Marcelo Bielsa, Chile's coach, is known to push his players very hard.
- Andrea Pirlo: The best Italian player of the 2006 final, and dynamo from AC Milan, suffered a calf injury during training, and will be out for Italy's first two matches, but it is hoped he will be recovered for the knock-out stages. No matter what, his absence is a serious problem for Marcelo Lippi.
- Miroslav Karhan, one of Slovakia's most experienced and veteran midfielders, is out of the tournament due to a hamstring injury.
- Carlos Costly, Honduras' best striker, is out the entire tournament after breaking the foot, and this also seriously hampers Honduras' hopes of upsetting someone in their difficult group.
Smaller nations, more dependent on their stars, will probably suffer the absence of their stars more than the bigger teams, but the dynamic for each team will be changed.
In the end, the winner of the World Cup may be the team that best manages its injuries!