Granit Xhaka “relieved” after injury scare


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Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka admits he is “relieved” to receive positive news after suffering an injury ahead of Switzerland’s World Cup campaign.

Switzerland, who are priced at 2.05 to qualify from Group E, have been handed a tough draw in Russia this summer and will need to compete with Brazil, Serbia and Costa Rica for a route out of the group.

Arsenal midfielder Xhaka is a key member of the setup and is likely to start every game fitness permitting.

There were concerns he could miss some or all of the showpiece event after he sustained an injury in training on Thursday.

Xhaka, who boasts 61 caps for Switzerland, was immediately taken to hospital with suspected knee ligament damage following a clash with a team-mate.

After undergoing extensive tests it was concluded he had just suffered severe bruising and he is still expected to play a big role over the next couple of months.

Switzerland team doctor Pierre Etienne Fournier added: “We could establish that the ligaments were intact, but we wanted to play it safe. It’s just a painful bruise on the knee.”

Xhaka has been ruled out of Sunday’s friendly with Spain at the Estadio de la Ceramica in Villarreal but he could be available for Switzerland’s final warm-up outing against Japan in Lugano on June 8.

Vladimir Petkovic’s side kick off their World Cup campaign on June 17 against pre-tournament favourites Brazil, before going up against Serbia five days later, and they wrap up the group against Costa Rica on June 27.

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