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Time out for Oscar

Friday, May 30, 2014

TERESPOLIS, Brazil - Brazil star Oscar said on Wednesday he was being allowed leave from his country's World Cup preparations to attend the birth of his daughter, due in the coming days.

"I want to tell you I am still here, my daughter has not yet been born," the Chelsea midfielder said in posts to social media, rejecting speculation that he might be dropped from the squad after recent injury problems.

"I am waiting — I have not left the squad. I am going to train today and, God willing, my daughter will be born soon," he said.

Oscar, who missed Chelsea's season run-in while nursing a hip injury, has been given permission to leave the camp to travel to Americana, in neighbouring So Paulo state, to attend the birth.

Meanwhile Brazil's World Cup hopefuls have begun training in cool and rainy conditions at their base camp in the hills outside Rio.

If the squad had been hoping for balmy conditions at their Granja Comary complex in the town of Teresopolis they would have suffered a rude awakening, with the thermometer showing just 17 degrees Celsius as they trotted onto a chilly pitch.

Under the watchful gaze of 2002 World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, the 23-man squad began their session shortly after 10am after some indoor warm-ups — the three goalkeepers following the program in reverse.

Oscar, coming off a hip injury, and striker Jo, likewise shaking off fitness problems as he looks to play second fiddle to main striker Fred, both joined the group from the outset for an hour-long session.

The bulk of the squad, most of whom play in Europe, had arrived on Monday — when they were met by sporadic protests by citizens angry at the cost of staging the event.

Tuesday they underwent a series of fitness tests, preparing to hit tip-top shape for their June 12 opener against Croatia in Sao Paulo.

Before then the team will play two friendlies — against Panama on June 3 in Goiania and Serbia three days later in the Morumbi stadium in Sao Paulo.

The Croatian game will be played in the much-delayed Corinthians Arena before the Selecao meet Mexico and Cameroon to complete their Group A program.

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